Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WSOP Coming Up

So I have a busy few weeks coming up before I leave for the WSOP on June 13th. This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, of course, and the whole family always goes to the beach. The following weekend is my brother's wedding in Key West so we will be down there for a long weekend. Once I get back from Key West I will be getting ready for Vegas. I leave June 13th and will be there for a whole week. I am actually only going to play 1 or 2 WSOP events. The Venetian Deep Stack is a much better structured event with deeper stacks, a nicer room (Venetian is the nicest room on the strip), and lower buy-ins.

With that in mind, here is my tentative schedule:

Sat, June 13th $1,000 WSOP Main Event Mega Satellite (1 in 10 gets $10k seat in ME)
Sun, June 14th $550 Venetian Deep Stack Omaha Hi-Lo
Mon, June 15th If I satellite into the $2k WSOP I will play that, otherwise the $550 NLHE @ Venetian
Tues, June 16th $1,500 NLHE WSOP
Wed, June 17th $330 NLHE Venetian
Thur, June 18th $550 PLO Venetian or $2,000 NLHE WSOP (depending on how week is going)

Of course, I will be playing a lot of cash games, satellites, etc. and will keep this up to date while I am out there. Getting excited and playing really well so who knows. ONE FUCKING TIME PLEASE!!!!

FTOPS just ended but I really didn't play much at all. I thik I played 2 FTOPS events total. I had a lot going on with family, golf, brother's bachelor party, etc and just didn't feel like committing the time to the events. I did play a lot of satellites leading up to the various events and had mixed success. At the beginning of the satellite period I ran like absolute death and was down ~$3k. I must have lost AK to AQ a dozen times and/or had big pairs lose to flopped sets repeatedly. Got pretty insane for a while. The one that I vividly remember was a satellite for a $216 NLHE tournament and I got KK all in pre-flop against 78suited at 25/50 blinds and the monkey flops 2 pair. Very frustrating. But variance is a bitch in these things so the only thing to do is play through it. Towards the end of the FTOPS I got back on the right side of variance and had eaten through most of the previous losses. In the end, I think I was down less than $300. SO that was a good comeback.

On PokerStars I can't seem to get past Step 5 in their Steps program. I have bubbled the Step 6 ticket 4 times and gotten replay tickets for Step 5. Just can't seem to win a key flip, etc. in these at the end. Will probably keep trying to go all the way through Step 6 as the WSOP package they offer is really sweet and includes spending money, free room at the Palms for a week during the Main Event, immediate upgrade to Supernova status, etc.

Live poker has been going MUCH, MUCH better. Had a big night in a home game last Thursday where I was up more than $1k. People kept playing Omaha Hi-LO with me and every time I put all my chips in the middle I had the nuts. That is probably my best game and most people just don't play it well at all. People seem to think it is a gambling game but in reality it is much less of a gambling game than Omaha High. The good players in Hi-Lo tend to rise to the top much more quickly than in Omaha High. Too many guys call off all of their chips trying to win half the pot. The key to the game is to play hands that give you a chance to scoop the whole pot. As Scott Clements (one of the best Omaha Hi-Lo players in the world) would say, you need "Triple Nut Hands" to win. Triple Nut Hands are hands that can win three different ways. For example, AK23 (A suited) is a powerhouse. You can make the nut flush for nut high (nut #1), you can make nut str8 (T-A) for nut high (nut #2) and you can make a wheel (A-5) for nut low and very strong high hand (nut #3). Now that doesn't mean you can only play Triple Nut Hands but those are obviously the most powerful hands and can be played from any position. Too many players start raising and playing any A2xx hand much too fast. That is bad as say A28T unsuited is a really weak high hand and you will have a very difficult time making the nuts both ways. More often, you will end up getting quartered (winning 1/2 of the low hand) when someone else holds A2.

Not a lot going on in golf right now. Have some guest days and client golf coming up but nothing competitve for a good while. I did not qualify for the MD Am which is very frustrating. I played on a terrible golf course with terrible greens and shot 80. I have been playing really well and this course's greens were just god awful and I didn't adjust well at all. Needed to shoot 78 to get in but with 39 putts that is tough to do. This will be the first time I am not in the field since 2003 and I think only the 3rd time in the last 15 years or so. Sucks but not much I can do. I have worked with my teacher a few times already this season and am really driving the ball well. That is typically the issue for me early in the season and I seem to have found my swing already this year. I am really going to zero in on the 2 USGA qualifiers this year (Amateur and Mid-Am) and have my game super sharp for those. Really want to get to the "Next level" in my game and that means I need to tighten every part of the game (driving, irons, pitching, putting, etc.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Good Weekend on the Felt

So this weekend was my brother's bachelor party and 7 of us schlepped up to Atlantic City for a little golf and cards. We kept it pretty low-key but had a good time. Saturday we played golf about 15 mins outside of AC and I actually played reasonably well. Then we all went to the steakhouse for a manly meal followed by hours and hours of gambling. Here is a rundown of the pokerage:

We were at the Showboat and so we started there. I got in a 1-2 game while I waited for the 2-5 game to open. Game was ridiculously bad and most of the players were there to play a few hands and guzzle free drinks. Only interesting spot really was when I was dealt KK in early position. I raised to 7 and got 2 callers including a call from the only other competent player at the table. Flop came J7x with 2 spades. I led for 15 and competent player raised to 35. I reraised to 75. Then he shoved like 175 more. I tanked for a while but he had showed me a fold of bottom 2 pair earlier where I was pretty sure he was good (but turned out he wasn't) so I knew the guy didn't overvalue his hands. Given that I doubt he is shoving AJ. Only hands he could be shoving here then are AA (not sure he flats pre-flop), JJ, 77, bottom set (think it was 3) or nut flush draw. Costs me 175 to find out and really think flush draw is least likely and fold KK face up. He showed me JJ so good fold. My re-raise is pretty retarded in hindsight but at least I got away from it.

So that table sucked and no action was really going on so I walked next door to the Taj where the action is always good. While I was waiting for the 20-40 Limit Omaha Hi-Low game I jumped in a 1-2 No Limit game. There were 2 huge stacks (probably 800 and 1500) and I am happy to jump in when there are a lot of chips. Several interesting hands:

Play is 4 handed; 3rd or 4th hand in. My stack=$300 First to act (stack ~1500) raises to 6 and everyone calls ( I have 9Toff with stack of full buy-in $300). Flop comes gin-8JQ rainbow. I lead for 20 into 24 pot. Big stack raises to 50 and I tank call (looks like he is trying to be big stack bully). Turn is a 7. I check and he bets 85. I tank call because a raise probably scares him at this point. River is an Ace. This is either a really good card or really bad card. I still know I am good but if he had like KQ that A might scare him off and he may fold. But only one way to find out. I lead for 75 he min-raises to 150 and I ship for like another 10 bucks which he obv calls and shows AJ. Well played sir. Stack $610.

Two hands later I raise QJcc to 8 first to act. The other big stack (~800) calls on the button and BB calls. Flop comes Q85 with 2 hearts. I lead for 20 and button raises to 50. I call. Turn is an A. Action goes check check. So let's narrow his hands down. He almost never has an A here unless he has A5hh and even that seems unlikely given my interest in the pot thus far he would have bet the turn. Most likely he has a a Q and the only one that beats me at this point and makes sense is KQ. If he flopped 2 pair or a set he definitely bets here to protect the flush draw and random str8 draws. This level player isn't that tricky to check those big hands behind. So I am guessing he has Q9-QK. I beat two of those and lose to one (KQ obviously). River is an off-suit rag and I check. He bets $85 and I start thinking about this action. Again my read is that he has a Q and I say "I think you have QT" and call. He shows Q9 and I scoop. Stack ~$750

Little later my stack has drifted down to about $720 when this beauty comes up. I raise to 8 first to act with AA (we are now 5 handed). Button (big stack ~1100-1200) and SB call. Flop comes 889. I lead for 20 and button calls. Turn is A...ding, ding, ding . Ok what is the play here. Check call seems to make the most sense. Obviously I have the nut full boat but also the A is a good card to check to him. I have shown a lot of aggression at this table and if I have KK or QQ or some other pair, of course I am going to slow down with the check. In his mind it will look like I am putting on the brakes because I am scared of the A. Of course if he has the case A he is going to bet. SO I think he will almost always bet this card if I show weakness and check. Sure enough he bets $60 and I tank act and call. River was a rag and I agonize over the bet size and finally bet $80. He cuts out his chips like he going to raise and I try to look really worried and weak. Finally he just calls and shows AK. Surprised he didn't raise as bad as he was playing. Stack ~900

At this point I was super deep stacked witht the two other big stacks and just started reraising them a lot with the button or in position. They had no idea how to play this way and were pretty much chips spazzes. I was pounding on them pretty good and I could tell they were getting pissed. Built the stack up to about 1k at one point before they figured out what the fuck was going on.

I do lose a smallish sized pot with TT and sort of drift down to ~850 and decide to lock up the win since it was 3 a.m. and the table was getting pretty lame and I was beat.

Sunday morning I woke up about 10 a.m. and got ready to head over to the Borgata for the 11 a.m. daily tournament ($100 + 20). Get over there and remember why the Borgata is the best. After playing in the Taj the Borgata is cleaner, less noisy and just a much better poker room.

Take my seat and immediately identify a few weak spots. One of them was an older gentleman who was very spewy and just kept raising his shit hands. So at second level (50/100) he raises to 300 in early position and I call with AJ in late position. Flop comes J high rainbow. He leads for 500 and I call. Turn was a blank and he leads for 800 and I call. River was a Q. And he checks. Pretty sure I am good but this monkey would reraise me here sometimes with TT or AK and I can't stand too much heat so I check behind. He shows KJ and I scoop good sized pot. Another player was raising preflop then continuation betting every hand. However, he would shut down on the turn if he missed. SO with that in mind I called his raise to 300 with 78dd on the button. Flop was pretty ragged Qxx and he c-bet 450 as expected. I called planning to steal the turn with a check. Sure enough turn was a rag and he checked. I bet 700 and he folded. I continued to chip up to about 20k (started with 10k) when I got moved.

New table had a few competent players on it and a lot more chips. I stayed relatively steady in chips for the next few levels when the following popped up (400/800/100). EP limps, button limps, SB completes and I look down at TT. So there is ~4k in the pot and I clearly have the best hand based on the action and raise to 4k. EP thinks for a while and calls (ugh). Button then insta-ships ~10k. This is retarded. He limps then ships once there is action. Clearly a steal attempt. I snap call expecting a race and that is what I get as he shows KJ. Other dude folds but of course J on the turn and I lose a big pot. Puts me down to ~10k. Few hands later I get a lot of it back when I river 2 pair and get 2 players to call my value bet. Back up around ~16k. I then pick up a few pots with preflop raises. A little later a player in middle position raises at 500/1000/100 to 3000 and I reraise to 13k with AKsuited and he folds. Finally I am back up around 30k when I get moved to one of the final 3 tables.

At this point I go completely and utterly card dead. Table is pretty aggressive and I have absolutely nothing. Blinds are going up at a ridiculous pace but I can't do shit since my cards are sooooooooo bad. Finally I am all the way down to 8k in chips at 2000/4000/500 (11k in pot pre flop!!). Got to get it in soon. Second to act was an agreesive young player who raised a lot. He raised again to 12k and folded to me on button. I have 67cc. This is it for a few reasons. One I have a reasonably decent hand that playes well against a lot of hands. For example, I am only a 60/40 over 2 random overs (AK, AQ, etc). Obviuosly if he has an overpair that is worse as I am a 3/1 dog which ain't good. Secondly, since he is rasing from middle position and it folded back to me I am likely to get heads up. Obviuosly easier to beat one player than multiple players. But time is now and I stick it in. He flips QQ which is the worst possible outcome. Flop comes x5xc, Turn 9c. THis gives me a club draw and a gutshot str8 draw. River is a club and I more than double up to around 27k. That was big. Two hands later I shove AQ and foldsaround. Pick up 11k. Now we are on the cash bubble (18 pay). So I am very aggressive as people generally play tight at this point. Tight guy raises to 12k and I shove ~42k with J9hh. Pretty sure he only calls with AA, KK or QQ. He folds. Shove a few more hands and all of the sudden I am up to 65k or so with 13 left. A few busts and I am at the final table with average stack of around 110k.

Blinds are stupid at this point but it seems no one really knows how to play like this. I am raising 2 or 3 hands every orbit and with blinds of 4000/8000/1000, I am picking up ~20k every time. Finally people start saying how aggressive I am and that means I need to slow down I guess. We are 6 handed I am not playing many hands except I am raising one tight old guy's BB every single time just to keep my stack solid. Couple other guys bust with retarded plays and we are 4 handed. Guy on my right is the only other competent player remaining so I am trying to stay out of big pots with him unless I have a big hand. Well that happens a few hands later. Blinds have gotten all the way to 15k/30k/5k and I make a standard raise to 80k with KK (my stack is about 260k at this point and he is at about 400k). He goes into the tank for a long time and I am really begging for a call. He starts asking me questions and I am really trying to look weak. Finally I call the clock on him after abt 5 mins as this is something people often do if they don't want a call. Finally he folds AJ face up and says to me later that he told himself I was the only player he didn't want to play a big pot with. His option really is all-in or fold and to his credit he made the right move there. Unfortunately he was out a few hands later when he shipped 99 and the old tight donkey called with KJ and board ran out TTQxQ. That left solid player with about 100k. 3 hands later he puts it all in preflop and I call from SB with KJ. He flips 22 and I spike a J on flop. Now I am up to 600k. Other 2 stacks are 200k and tight old guy with abt 500k. Now I am psycho aggressive and raisng every pot at 20k/40k/5k. Finally I raise K4cc and short stack calls with K7 and for once I spike a 4 to eliminate him.

With that I offer the old guy a deal to chop. On my Iphone I have an application that calculates chip equity based on stacks and payouts. Based on the stacks it told me I was supposed to get ~$3,250 and old man should get the remaining ~$2,800. But I am a better player than this guy particularly heads up and I offer to take $3,500 or we play it out. This is a bit of a bluff because the blinds are so high I don't want to gamble with the old guy since the difference in 1st and 2nd is about $1,800. But he accepts if I pick up the dealer tip. I agree to that and we have a deal.

Best part of this whole tournament is that I only had to show down my cards 3 or 4 times before we got down to the final 3. Anytime you can win a lot of hands without showing your holdings, it makes it hard for your opponents to know what you are up to.

So it is now like 6:30 and I have to get home since I have a 7:30 tee time on Monday morning for the MD Am Qualifier. Barrel home by about 10 and am exhausted. Get up at 5:30 still exhausted and get to the golf course where it is still just pouring. Finally at 9:30 or so they call the round and we have to come back on Wednesday. Pain in the ass but can't beat Mother Nature. So I will try it all again tomorrow.

FTOPS also starts on Wednesday so updates on that coming soon.