Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lots Of Live Poker...

My trip to the Bahamas was profitable, but it could have been much more successful. I played only two tournaments. The $10k Main Event and a $1k side event. I was going to play the $2k turbo ($1k bounty on each person) but my friend was sick and going to go to the doctor, so I decided to skip the tournament and take him. It sucked missing such a great tournament but I had a good reason to. I should have played a couple more tournaments when I was there but I didn't make good use of the online registration like I should have. Live and learn.

The 10k Main event was a great tournament. My starting table had a couple really good online players. BKice and bigegypt were to my direct right and puffinmypurp was also at the table. Once a few players busted, Sorel Mizzi and gboro780 took their seats. Luckily I made it through day 1 with 119k, which was a pretty decent stack. I won JJ vs A4, and KK vs AK all in preflop and chipped my way up towards the end of the day.

I had a decent table draw on Day 2. Sam Stein was to my direct right and there were a few other good players scattered around the table. I stayed patient and didn't play that many pots early. I was really card dead and didn't try to force anything. I was happy about that. Later on in the day I started to pick up a few hands and make a couple plays.

I had about 120k at 1200/2400 and raised the cutoff to 5200. Pieter De Korver three bet me from the small blind to 12600. I 4bet to 28900. Pieter tanked for a good 2 minutes and decided to flat call me. I had roughly 85k behind. The flop came K35s with one spade and he checked. I moved all in and he folded pretty quickly. This helped me gain some momentum. I'd rather not say what I had in some of these spots though. I can't give away too much information. I had been fairly tight and I'm pretty certain Pieter folded a hand like TT/JJ (this is what he said he had too.)

The blinds were now 1500/3000 and I had about 150k in chips I believe. Someone I know was moved to the table. I know this person fairly well as we have some mutual friends. This person isn't the most respected and doesn't have the best reputation. I keep my distance though because I know better. His very first hand at the table he makes it 7500 with about a 90k stack. I picked up AKo on the button and 3bet him. He thought about it for a little bit, and didn't think I would raise him light here and decided to fold to me. I told him good fold, smiled, and showed him my hand. There's always a different level of psychology when you are playing against someone you know. It's tough sometimes to know which level you should take your thought process to. The next orbit he opened the hijack with 20bbs. I moved all in from the small blind and he folded A9 face up. The very next hand he opened again, and I 3bet from the button. He told me "I'm folding a pair this time!" Who knows if that was the truth, but we were playing a few pots against each other and he was still giving me playful banter saying he knew I had it every time. I then opened a hand to 6800, and he 3bet me from the big blind to 17k, with a little under 20bbs. I thought he could just be making a move on me here, but I took the lower variance route and decided to fold.

At break he came up to me and told me "Don't bust me kid." while a couple players were still at the table. Pieter asked me what he said and I told him. A couple minutes later he ran into me and I told him to just play poker and that I had a couple good spots against him. He told me he was going to stay out of my way and I replied that if he has 20bbs and I have AQ I don't plan on folding to him. Like I said earlier, the psychology behind playing against people you know takes things to another level and I would rather just both parties play their game. I will kind of talk about this a little later in the blog too, because I have a perfect example from a tournament I played yesterday as well.

We come back from break and we were about 20 away from the money. I won a big pot preflop where I 4bet and took it down. The blinds were now 2k/4k and I had around 180k. We were seven handed and I opened to 8800 UTG with AA. The guy I knew then flatted the button with a 79k stack. He had just under 20bbs. The flop came 892 rainbow. I bet 10200 and after a couple seconds of thought they said "I raise... I'm all in." I snap called and he turned over T8o for middle pair. The turn was a J and the river was a T to give him two pair and win the pot. I wasn't upset about getting my aces cracked. It was the principle that this person said they weren't going to come after me and made some ridiculously awful play on the bubble against me. I didn't expect less though, hence why I snap called the all in. That was a tough pot to lose on the bubble though. The player told me "I didn't deserve that to happen to me" and even tried to offer me a freeroll on him lol... This is why I say to people just to play poker. Don't tell someone one thing and do another. Play your game and that way you don't have to get into spots like this. This guy thought I would fold to him and he tried to take advantage of me. I got my money in good and got unlucky. I'm glad there are people that bad at poker that will continue to make me money in this game.

I made one really questionable fold on the bubble about 4 away from the money. In the previous orbit a really good/aggressive Internet player opened the lowjack and I jammed all in from the big blind for about 25bbs. He folded and I picked up the pot. He had tightened up since a couple players behind him recently got chips and we were nearing the bubble. In the same spot an orbit or two later he opened again. This time his bet sizing was a little different. I wasn't sure if that had any significance. I had 110k behind at 2k/4k. I looked down at 99 in the big blind. This is typically a spot where my default is to get all in preflop. Something about the game flow and the table dynamics made me think twice. I weighed my options. I didn't like calling because I knew the player very well and knew he was capable of triple barreling me with a bigger stack on the bubble. My hand would have been hard to play. I also thought his range was tighter now than previously before. I thought about it for a good two minutes. I also thought me tanking for so long gave away the strength of my hand in a way. With all of these factors combined, and with me shoving on him recently, I decided to make a super tight fold. I had such an awkward stack and I wasn't sure the correct play. I am alright with it, but I still am contemplating what is best in this spot.

I believe the first hand when we made the money it folded to Sam Stein in the small blind. He had 11 big blinds and moved all in. His range here is almost any two cards. I peeled the Qs and the Qd for a pair of queens. I called and he turned over Q8hh. I was an 86% favorite preflop. I had about 110k in chips (blinds were now 2.5/5k,) so winning this pot right after we made the money was crucial for me. The flop came 923hh and the turn was the 4h giving him the flush and having me drawing dead. I nursed my 10 big blind stack the rest of day 2 and entered day 3 with 69k at 3k/6k.

I busted about an orbit into Day 3. I moved all in for 62k UTG with KQo. The small blind had about 180k-200k and he tanked it for 2 minutes. He stared me down. I looked back at him with the expression "What do you want from me? I'm all in lol." Once he thought for so long I was fairly confident he couldn't have a hand that had me dominated. He stacked the chips for a call, put them back into his stack, and then ended up calling. The big blind folded and I turned over my KQo. He slammed down his hand.. which was AQo. I couldn't get there and I busted in 169th place out of 1560 players with 232 being paid. I made a little profit. I was very happy with how I played and I think my live tournament game is progressing nicely. I had a great WSOP and I am excited to keep improving my game and play more big, live tournaments.

I enjoyed the Bahamas this year. I got to see a lot of friends I know from the circuit. Not just poker players but also friends in the media. I met a lot of people I play online with and I had a couple fun nights going to dinner or going out. I think I've taken a different approach to the trip every year I go, which is just individual growth I guess or me getting older haha.

Yesterday I went to the Isle Casino in Pompano, Florida for their $1600 bounty tournament. There was a $500 bounty on each player you knocked out. I played a really ridiculous pot a couple hours into the tournament I'd like to talk about. It was my VERY FIRST HAND at a new table. The blinds were 200/400/50a and a guy I've played with quite a bit made it 1100 in early position with a 35k stack. I also had about 35k and called with 33 on the hijack. The button who was a younger kid wearing a pokerstars jacket, made it 3500 on the button. The first raiser called and I called as well. The flop came A24cc and we all checked the flop. The turn was the 2h and I bet 6400. The kid on the button made it 13500 with about 15k behind. I tanked it for a minute or so and moved all in. He snap folded. This was a pretty huge pot at that stage of the tournament. With the way the hand played out I thought there was only one hand in his range that he could call me with, and luckily I was right.

I continued to chip up, and I accumulated a few bountys along the way. With about 25 left I lost a 50k pot with 85o vs AQcc. There was a player all in for 2 big blinds and a really tight player I played with all day raised 3x. I called from the sb with 85o and the flop came A88dd. Bingo! I checked to the guy and he bet 10k into a sidepot of 1500. I knew he would jam the turn but might not call it off (and he had AK/AQ.) He had about 17-18k behind. The turn was the worst card in the deck. Another ace. He instajammed out of position and I folded. He turned over AQ and won the bounty. I could have won two bounties in that pot. No biggie. I ran an overpair into a set and then I couldn't pick up a hand and got super short. At 3k/6k the button opened to 13k. His range was pretty wide here. I had A8cc in the sb and moved in. He called with ATo and I flopped an 8 to win. A few hands later I doubled with KK vs AJ and I now was in contention when we were only 3-4 away from the money.

I saw a lot of people soft playing each other in this tournament. Especially shorthanded right before the money. This is what I was talking about before. Lots of angle shooting or just table talk. Such as "I have it I will call your all in. We can play for it all here." Things like that and people just being overly friendly thinking that they can all just help each other out and make the money, final table, or chop. It's really frustrating to see sometimes, but I also know some of these players are amateur players. It's almost impossible to play a normal poker game when you have 2-3-4 other guys at the table soft playing each other and making ridiculous folds. It's like you become the one they gun for. When I am not taking it easy on anyone, and I am playing pots against everyone, it is tough to come out on top. I know this happens a lot at local card rooms and there isn't anything that can be done. You really have to alter your game in these situations. I guess it also has to deal with experience too but I will stop my rant. Just play poker, don't listen or take anyones crap.

After witnessing some of the most ridiculous poker I have ever seen in a tournament. We made the final table of 10. A couple hands into it I saw something that shocked me even more. A girl who is attractive and plays poker, moved all in from the small blind for roughly 15bbs. The structure was 30 minute levels so it plays pretty fast. The big blind had her covered and had about 20bbs himself. He decides to fold TT face up. Now I am not sure if he folds because she is a girl or what, but I just couldn't believe it. Then he wants to complain how we aren't busting any players lol... I end up knocking out a shortstack JTo vs Q2o blind vs blind. Then I min raised the hijack with QTo, the same guy with TT from before calls with AT and the flop comes AKJ. He jams into me, I snap call and hold. Very next hand he is all in in the small blind at 8/16k. I raise 84o in middle position, the big blind calls. It comes K79h I bet 30k into a 60k sidepot, he calls. Turn is Ah I bet 52k, he check calls again. River is another K. He grabs some chips to bet, then checks. I move all in and he snap folds. I table my 84o and take the 230k side pot, and the other guy shows T5o and wins the main pot.

I then got it in KQ vs 77 all in pre for 400k pot it came J44Tx and my stack went from ~600 to 400k. A couple hands later I got it in KQo vs A6o and bricked again. My last chips went in KTo vs T6o blind vs blind. I would have gotten back up to 220k at 10/20k but I lost that as well. All in all I thought I played pretty good, got lucky in a couple spots, and did my best. I took 6th place, first place was about 40k.

There is a $2200 main event at the Isle this weekend I will be playing. Hopefully I can make another deep run. Also a $200 PLO Rebuy that I'm not sure if I will play tomorrow. Thanks for listening to my rants and ramblings.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Welcome To 2011...

What's up world? I hope everyone had a good Christmas and a great New Years. Things have been alright on my end. I've had to make a couple difficult decisions lately. It hasn't been fun or easy but I did what I had to do. Sometimes doing the right thing is the toughest thing to do. I don't get too personal in my blog often, but I try to live my life with honesty and do what I think is right. I stress about what is right and wrong on a daily basis. There is no blueprint to life and I'm a person that needs specific answers. I'm still dealing with the reality that I can't know everything. Life would be boring that way I guess. I was going to write about decision making, but I think that topic would be too tough to relate to poker in the sense I'm talking about. So enough of that.

I've been having a couple good weeks at the online tables. I've made a few final tables with some top finishes but no victories. It's been nice to start 2011 with some deep runs. Typically the first of the year is kicked off by the PCA tournament in the Bahamas. I wasn't planning on going after losing heads up twice in heartbreaking fashion for a package. Now I've changed my mind and will be there this weekend. I can't win if I don't go, right? The PCA is the 2nd best 10k in poker behind the WSOP Main Event. I couldn't miss it. It will be nice to see friends I don't get to see often and play some big live events. I'm looking forward to it.

There is actually a funny story about me going to the Bahamas. Like I said above, I wasn't planning on going but I was contemplating making a last minute decision to go. This afternoon I got a text message from one of my buddies, Jeff. I don't talk to him too often. He is a professional poker player as well. We hang out when we are in the same city and are good friends, we just don't talk that much otherwise. He sent me a text that read "Had a dream me you FT of Bahamas Main.. I don't know, don't ask." Haha. It was pretty random like I said. He's not one of my friends I talk to on a daily basis or that often, so it is weird he is dreaming about me. That's why Jeff made the comment at the end saying "I don't know, don't ask." How could I not go after receiving that text? I'm hoping there is some foresight involved in his dream. If he loses the tournament before me, does that mean I won't final table? Time will tell!

There has been some shakeup in the online poker industry lately. Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke both left UB and then they signed Prahlad Friedman. I haven't followed along with all the drama, but I know a little bit about what's going on. I can't say for certain why Hellmuth and Duke left UB. I'm sure there are some hidden reasons but that is just my hunch. It could be something with UB they didn't like, something with them personally, legalization of poker in the states and other companies biting at them, who knows. I just don't think it is something cut and dry like they are trying to make it though. The signing of Prahlad is a little crazy. He said he would never take a sponsorship from an online poker site and he was also one of the people who was cheated out of the most money during the UB scandal. I don't think it is bad that he signed with UB. Who cares what he said in the past? He decided to change his mind. It's his decision. A lot of people give UB a lot of flack. I understand why. They also are trying to change their image and I think they realize a lot of people are going to hate them before they decide to play there again. As long as they keep trying to improve their product I believe UB can be successful. It might take a while though.

I will update from the Bahamas as well. I haven't done a tournament summary recently. Maybe I will do one for the PCA but I doubt it. It is too big of a tournament and there probably won't be enough time for me to blog that much. There are a lot of great live tournaments coming up in Florida after the PCA. I could do a tournament summary blog then. My mind is going blank. Sorry for jumping all around. Blogging can be tough sometimes haha. Talk to you guys later. Wish me luck at the PCA! Goodnight.