Monday, June 25, 2007 

Quite the weekend...

Didn't have any grand expectations this weekend, but did have a determination to make something happen. And happen they did... (how dramatic)

Here's how it went down.

Didn't play at all Friday night. Used Friday to unwind with my wife, relax, eat a nice dinner, see a movie. No poker on Friday's really seems to help my focus come Saturday. Got a good night sleep and tried to hit the ground running Saturday. Didn't quite work out that way. My total bankroll was all in play by 2pm Saturday afternoon and I came up with nothing. I was playing shitty and had nothing to show for it. Had to clear my head. Stepped away for a few hours.

It can be pretty eye opening to go through an entire budgeted bankroll and see that you have nothing to show for your many, many hours of effort. You can't necessarily pin point bad play. But you know that as you play with the last remaining funds in your roll, you are in essence playing differently. I hate that. I know better. Play the same, no matter what. I chose to reload my account. I put in $500 with the mindset that I just HAD to turn this into something.

With some money back in my account, I decided to hit a few 20 table SnG's. Things were going well as I played these so I decided to get a 3rd table running. Took a chance on the $100 Saturday deep stack at 7pm. My logic was, invest the $100 and know I'll have a chance to play a long tournament which provides me the opportunity to make my own success. Broke out a bottle of wine, got relaxed and played my A game. While I don't encourage anyone to get drunk while playing, a glass or two of wine can really relax the nerves. For what it's worth, I think it helped.

As I was playing the $100, I cashed in a few of my other smaller games which put me in a good place mentally. Took that momentum and applied it to the big one. 9 hours later, made a 3 way deal and walked away with over 4k.

I knew I was getting into a long tournament. But man, 4am was pretty rough. But obviously well worth it.

In hindsight, played a good game. Chipped up and didn't risk my stack unnecessarily. When the right situations presented themselves, I struck with authority. So, in some regards, I did play tight/aggressive. But later on, I did change that around and became far more aggressive as my stack grew. Once I picked up the momentum, I didn't look back.

Went to bed quite satisfied with my turn around.

Sunday comes awfully early. But I got up with a smile on my face. Spent some time in the kitchen baking of all things with my wife. Ran some errands. Was home by 2pm. At this point, knowing that Sunday's big tournament on Stars was a $1000 event, I didn't have any grand aspirations for playing it. However, I did decide to take a shot at a 1 table satellite for it. This table went so quick, I had to really ask myself if it happened. I took it down in less than 30 minutes. Was crazy. Everyone just kept pushing and I woke up with a few good hands that held up. I was now bought in for the $1000 at 4:30.

Things were working out well. Decided to relax and stay away from my computer until game time. Got my head straight and just enjoyed the day.

4:30 comes around and I'm feeling good. Confident. Focused. Things started out slowly but about 1 1/2 hours in, I started picking up decent hands. With these hands, I chipped up on a steady basis. Several hours in, I found myself with a healthy stack. Before I knew it, the money bubble approached. Knowing I was only in for $100, I did not stress. Bubble came and went and I was very happily in the money.

At this point, just became a feeding frenzy. Obviously many were content with the bottom payout. People pushing their stacks left and right. I took advantage of this and continued to build my stack. Quickly found myself 3 tiers into the money.

Things were looking great. Sitting there with the button and look down to see AA. With 100k in chips, this could really be a key hand. All fold to the cutoff who has about 60k in chips. He pushes all in. I re-raise to isolate. Just him and I in the hand. He shows 66. I'm feeling okay when I see this but you know that little feeling in the back of your head you get every damn time you enter this situation. Sure enough, flop comes KK6. No help on the flop or river. Crippling. Brought me down to around 39k in chips. Talk about deflating. Before I had any real time to evaluate the situation, next hand brings AK suited. I'm in the CO. Middle position table chip leader raises for 15k. All fold to me, I push. Just him and I. He shows QJ. I hit an A on the flop and double right back up to 80k. Next hand after that, AQ. I come in for a 15k raise and pick up the blinds. I'm sitting comfortable again at 105k.

Talk about a stressful little point of the game.

Things continued to go well. I soon found myself in the next money tier but was losing chips. Before long, i was short stacked again and needed to create a situation. I was down to 50k and decided in late position to be aggressive with an AQ. A fellow short stack in middle position pushed before I had the chance. He was in for 60k which obviously covered me. I went into my think tank. This guy was being overly aggressive. He had been racking up chips but got called down twice showing him in with mediocre hands. This push at this point looked like a tiltish play. I put him on a range from AJ to A9 with smaller pairs. I specifically remember telling myself here, that "I do not have to call". I should have listened to my inner gut. I called anyway thinking this was a good chance to chip up. He shows AK. And I'm out in 69th with $3200 more in my pocket.

The cashing part was great. But I would be lying if it wasn't bitter sweet. Seeing a 1st place payout of $350k and knowing I had a real shot...well, it can be eye opening. I made a mistake with the AQ but did believe I had the better hand at that point. Not going to beat myself up too much though. Overall, I played a good tournament and had a great weekend.

With that being said, the plan from here will be to do nothing stupid. Going to pick and chose a few decent tournaments this week and try to keep this momentum going.

Anyhoo...back to the real world.

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Friday, June 15, 2007 

New Florida Poker Laws

Being geographically stuck in Jacksonville, Fl; the exposure to "real" poker is extremely limited. Sure, you have home games, boats that take hours going out to sea and returning, and dog tracks that have a $2 limit on betting. Luckily, everything changes July 1st. (insert angelic choir singing here)

As of July 1st the following changes go into effect:

1. It allows no-limit poker with a max. buy-in of $100.00.
2. It allows Jack Pots and other give aways.
3. It raises the buy in amount for tournaments.
4. Here is a link to the law. Read it so you will know fact from rumor.

This law only addresses the pari-mutuels such as the Dog Tracks and Horse Tracks.

We're still a long ways off from true poker, but this is such a huge step in the right direction. I was speaking with some of the dealers at my local poker room/dog track, and as they understand it, they'll be running tournaments with buy-in's up to $800.

Long story short...I'm ecstatic about this. I heard about this a few weeks back but really didn't believe it. Special thanks to Bill-The Poker Guy for helping confirm. Real poker in Jacksonville, Fl? I think i'm still in shock.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 

Back Amongst The Living...

While I was only in Vegas for 4 days, the realization that I must return to the real world is always a hard pill to swallow. The contrast between both worlds is just so extreme. Whaaaa...

Part II
With my last post I went into some level of detail with the action and results of my trip. I'll attempt to wrap that up with today's post.

Beyond all the glitz, glam, and poker, I was a little bummed. I was suppose to be picking up my press credentials for the WSOP. The plan was to write some stuff for Bastards sent me a note the day I got there saying that the passes for that website had exceeded their allotment. Bullshit I say. I had hoped to get some time for an interview or two or at least get behind the ropes to give an inside report before things really got cooking out there. Not meant to be.

I certainly didn't let that get to me. Too many things to do. What did bother me though was my stay at The Tropicana. My god man. I sortof knew what I was getting myself into, but what a dump. Here's why I'm bitter. I get there knowing I'm already booked for a cheap room. I figure I'll not see much of it. Whatever. But the expectation was that it would be clean and slightly comfortable. I go to check in and the front desk manager allures me with this tremendous upgrade for a measly $30 more a night. At this point I'm thinking hmmmm, I'm really tired, I sure would like to be comfortable. I say screw it and do it with the understanding I would be getting a tower semi-suite. Whatever that means. For what it's worth, semi-suite is just another term for mostly-shitty.

  • The room had an odd smell. I would describe it further, but what's the point. I'll leave it at stale smoke mixed with a vintage mold.
  • The television when turned on, defaulted to a Telemundo channel with the volume at max level. Every frickin' time I turned it on. WTF?!
  • The shower had no curtain. Interesting.
  • There were no wall hangings which I guess I don't care about. But at this point, I'm feeling like the room was last on the list for decoration and maintenance.
  • The two lamps on each side of the bed were without bulbs. I'm not even going to fathom a guess as to why.
  • The carpet appeared to be part of several small forest fires.
  • The bed, albeit a king size bed, was just as shitty as a hospital bed. You know those plastic beds that hospitals cover with a sheet in hopes of disguising as a bed? Same fucking thing.
  • And don't even get me started on the buffet down stairs. UGH.
Alright. Enough bitching. In the end, my own fault. Once you've stayed at The Venetian, pretty much downhill from there.

On the positive side... After all was said and done I found myself at the airport with cash in my pocket. I was up a good bit on the trip. I wanted to fly home in comfort. After some discussion with the Delta agent, I was able to fly first class all the way home for $25. The perfect ending to a decent trip. Being the geek that I am, I was extremely happy having an LCD screen on the back of the seat in front of me. I was able to watch the Red Sox play the Yankees, play trivia against other passengers and still have time for a quick game of Zuma. Amazing how fast 5 hours of flight can pass when you're occupied.

Thats enough for now. Next time maybe I'll actually talk poker. I've been running decent on the home front. I've hit two $22 180 person SnG's this week at Keeping the dream alive.

Would also like to welcome Kerry and Cortney to Team Medallion. Looking forward to some great insight and discussion. Best of luck at the tables!

In the meantime, a quick moment to prostitute my advertisers. Go play poker:

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Monday, June 04, 2007 

Vegas Trip Report

Whew...where do I begin?

Before I get into all the details, let me start with an outline of the trip and I'll take it from there.

  • I didn't do well in the Venetian Big Stack or WSOP event #3.
  • I did play in 3 additional tournaments and walked away winning 2 out of the 3
  • WSOP has a huge black eye in my opinion
  • Must Rest
  • Credentials
  • Don't stay at the Tropicana
  • First Class baby!

Part I
So, the while the intent when going to Vegas is generally to have fun, lose a little money, win a little money, etc. I do believe I have grander aspirations of greatness which I don't see as a bad thing. When I go out there, it's not with the mindset that "i can afford to lose this money". It's with the intent that this is the money I have to make the most possible amount of money during my time. With that being said, I was very selective over my game choice this weekend.

I started out on a good roll at the Venetian. When I hit that satellite and won the entry into the big tournament later that day, i was pumped. I had confidence and positivity going in. 8 hours later, I left the tournament pleased with my performance. I was close to the money and beat out the majority of the field. I played smart and picked my spots. Chip up here and there. Make it count the most.

As for the WSOP event #3. Let me summarize like this. Start with 3k in chips. This is by no means an excuse, but having just played the deep stack at the Venetian with 10k in chips, I think my mindset was a little skewed. I was still in deep stack mode. That being said, I'll conclude this even summary with this hand:

First level. (sigh)
Me: A8 spades middle position
One limp in front of me
I limp.
Cutoff limps.
SB calls.
BB checks.
Flop: 8d 8h 2s
Everyone checks to me. I check with the intent of trapping.
Cutoff bets out half of pot.
All fold back to me.
I raise double his bet.
He calls.
Turn: 9s
I check the turn.
He checks the turn.
River: Kd
I overbet committing me to the pot. He raises, i call all in.
I show my set.
He shows pocket deuces for the boat.

Before everyone beats me up, I do see several holes in this hand on my part. I should have bumped the initial bet. May have ridden the deuces to start with. On the flop, my raise back at him seems odd, but I wanted to see where I was at. His call should have set off alarms. However, to be perfectly honest, I put him on a range of hands and I did not include 22 in that mix. With his limp in late position, he obviously wanted to see a flop, cheap. I put him on a very weak A, or middle pair and KJ, K10, K9. I believed I had the best hand all the way through. My check on the turn was a mistake. I believe I should have put a little in the pot here to attempt further extraction of information.

Yeah, I'm kicking myself now. But hey, it was an exciting hand and I lost. Moving on...

I was still in a good place mentally and wanted to maximize my earning potential. I decided to hit a few tournaments elsewhere. Played a $100 rebuy at Caesar's Palace at 7pm and took that down for 1st. Nice cash.

Played in a smaller tourney down the street with more entrants and finished 4th.

So, all in all, I walked away from the trip considerably up. Granted, not "quit your job" up...but it was a nice boost.

As for the WSOP in general, let me just say that event organizers have GOT to get their shit together. I'm not sure this is being reported much, but you have a lot of unhappy players as a result of the cluster fuck at the RIO. People are waiting in lines 6+ hours long just to register. People have pre-paid their tickets and are still being forced to wait in these lines. Being turned away after 8 hours of standing? C'mon.

And apparently the complaints concerning the playing cards were so extreme, they had to fly in new cards putting them out $150,000. The cards were increadibly hard to read and people were misplaying their hands as a result. People were PISSED.

Anyway, i'm not really trying to harp on the subject, but how many years should it take to get it right? You know the interest you will have, you know what not to do from previous years. Should it be this hard? Anyway, I'll quit my bitching.

One things for sure when you're out in Vegas on a limited amount of time. You have to rest. I understand the party mentality when your sitting at a blackjack table with all your friends...but if you're there because you're serious about poker, you can't go 72 hours without some rest. As soon as I got some sleep, I had a great run in both tournaments and cash games.

Part II to follow

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Friday, June 01, 2007 

Day 1 So Far

Well, the day started out pretty well. Took a crack at a one table sat for the deep stack at the Venetian. Hit it. 24 hours into Vegas, and aside from having to tip everyone, I'm in for $100. Grand scheme of things, happy with that.

Tournament itself ended anti climatically? I actually played a very good tournament today. Lasted 11 levels busting 70th. 27 places paid. 320 entrants.

I was pleased with my ability to stay out of trouble and not create situations where I found myself behind. Built my stack up to 30k at one point. Found myself situational dead as a good friend of mine likes to say and was short stacked late in the game. Finally made a move with KQ. Had a good read on the cut off. I was in the BB. He raises, I push all in. He calls my remaining 14k with KJ and hits his J.


With that, I'm back in my hotel room feeling a bit beat up. Still dead tired. Haven't slept at all. Going to get some rest hopefully and head over to the Rio a little later tonight. Scope out the action in preparation for tomorrow. May hit a sat for the hell of it. We shall see.



The caps in my title are about as much excitement I can muster at the moment. I'm exhausted. LONG day. But I'm finally in my room at the luxurious Tropicanna...cough. It'll do. At this point, just happy to have a bed. Going to take a Vegas nap and get into the swing of things in the A.M. Plan is to get over to the Venetian and sign up for the Deep Stack Extravaganza. At some point, think I'll eat too. In my haste today, haven't had nothing more than airline peanuts. Too tired to go scavenging.

Anyway...sleepy time.

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