Friday, June 30, 2006

tonight's stars 55k

I finished third for ~$5400.
I'm not happy.

I was dominating this tournament, completely in my zone and crushing everybody. I was playing more hands than anybody and playing them well-- my VPIP/PFR was running about 46/31 through the entire tournament
Then threehanded I started slipping a little. I gave some chips back. Then the guy on my right, a scared overbetter, opened to 420k at 30k/60k in the small blind, and I had AK and shoved him in for the last 1.5 million or so, and he called with KQ and made a straight.
I never recovered from that. That knocked me from the heights to an average stack and eventually I was crippled losing 75dd to 33 after getting it in on an AQ53 two-diamond board.

It sucks, not just missing the 9k extra, but blowing a tournament I'd been having an absolutely killer run through. They don't come often. That's why I hate large field tournaments.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

4th in Paradise "Treasure Chest" tonight

$550 with 93 runners. 4th paid $4300.
It was a bitter cash. I was in command of the final table the whole way then fourhanded lost most of my chips with two tens to ace-eight suited preflop. Shortstacked I pushed in with ace-jack and lost to two queens.

Considering the difference between 4th and 1st was some $9500 this made it a disgusting and painful 4th place. I feel like throwing the prize money back in the face of the poker gods.

(but I won't.)

my poker career

People have asked me, especially with the heater I've been on in June, what my career trajectory has been and how it started. So I decided to answer hopefully once and for all with this story.

I've been playing cards all my life-- literally as long as I can remember. I started playing bridge as a small child, and got together for weekly games with my mother and grandparents. We also played rummy and several variants, but always plenty of card games. Poker wasn't a frequent sight then, but I was made well familiar with cards from my youth.

I started playing Hold 'Em in college. Never seriously, just for fun, always small-stakes games with low buy-ins. Just for kicks and never really an exhibition of skill. I got better, but I was for all intents and purposes still a novice. I occasionally played play money games on Paradise Poker at this time, around 2001, but again still really didn't know anything about the game.

Around late 2003 three of my friends-- Alex, Jeff, Roy, and I started a regular home game. $20 buy-in, .10/.20 blinds, unlimited rebuys (cash game after all). This played much deeper than the games I was used to and was my first real exposure to poker with any sort of deep stacks.
I started beating the game fairly regularly in 2004 but still didn't know how to play well. Still, we had a rotating cast of players, more of my friends got into the game, but the core of us four were the regulars and the long-term winners.

In October 2004 my roommate at the time, Lamar (who remains a close friend) had gotten into the game and decided to deposit a little money online. We played small stakes and small tournaments at Pokerroom with mixed success. He lost some money and then resolved to put up another $25 to give it a shot, or give up entirely if it failed.
Then we caught our heater.
We both like to gamble. And we started winning right away this time. We did the typical gambler "taking a shot" thing, moving up in stakes as we made money. Before very long we were sitting in at the 2/5 no-limit game, the highest stakes Pokerroom offered at the time.
We went on a two-week heater where we played four nights each week and left each night up two full buyins.
We were ecstatic-- it seemed like such easy money!
We took some of the $8k we had and bought some things, and at this time I decided I really wanted to study the game to make sure this was sustainable. So I bought some books-- Super/System and Harrington on Hold 'Em, Vol. 1 were the best-- and began to study as well as play.
Unfortunately our luck ran out and we lost most of it back. We just weren't as good as we thought we were.

In December I got a real job at a law firm, but I still spent lots of time playing my home game-- and in addition, I began reading the 2+2 forums on a regular basis. In April I deposited $300 on UltimateBet and decided to take a shot at sit-and-gos and MTTs.
I had a couple cashes early on in their afternoon $22 6-max tournament, and was decently successful with sit-and-gos, but I kept taking shots at multis without really knowing how to play them.

Through the summer I continued to work and play, but our home game was breaking (Jeff moved to Germany; Alex to Austin) and so even though I was still beating it it was a much less regular occurrence. In addition I ended up going through nearly all of the money I had online and I wasn't making enough to save to play more. For all intents and purposes, I was BUSTO again.

In late July I entered a $5 MTT on UB using player points I accumulated. I made it to the final two tables; good enough for $25. This is how my current bankroll started.
I used this to grind out some $5 SnGs to build a roll for a while, playing the occasional multi. My roll was probably around $100-200 in early August, when I had my first breakthrough: I won a $10 MTT on UB and cashed for over $900. The deck completely hit me over the head, and I knew this, but at the same time it confirmed that I could win (which was a hump I was having trouble overcoming).
So I started playing $10 and $20 SnGs to maintain the roll with the occasional MTT. The very next week I won that $22 6-max for another $850. My roll was on its way.

I played primarily $22 and $33 SnGs and occasional multis for a while, slowly increasing the roll until the big scores hit. I had two big weekends, one where I won the $22 6-max again for $800, a small $33 for $700, and cashed in the weekly $215 for another $500. $2k was a huge boost to my roll at the time.
The second big weekend happened while I was in Austin, dodging Hurricane Rita and seeing Austin City Limits Festival. I stayed with Alex for a couple days and we played some tournaments. I won one for $800 and finished third in a $109 for $1200. Another $2k weekend and we were on the go!

With this money I decided to expand to other sites. My next destination was Pokerstars because I'd heard so many good things about their tournaments. It took me a while to get used to the software, and I was still playing primarily SnGs and small buyins.
Then the big breakthrough came. I entered the $11 rebuy 45k on October 12 and played well and caught an insane rush near the end. I was massive chip leader at the final table, but I goofed up a bit heads up. Still, we made a deal, and I took $9700.
I felt like this was for real now.
Later that fall I won UB's nightly $33 10k for about $3k and a $44 for another $2700 or so. I was running insanely hot this fall; I wasn't playing as often as I do now, but when I did the results were remarkable. I went back over my records and from my first win in August through the end of November my ROI was something like 480%.

Then came the biggest turning point in my life.

I've made reference to "the accident" on the 2+2 forums but many may still not know what it is. I fell off a three story house (my house) and landed on the pavement. I was in the hospital for twelve days, I shattered my entire face and broke my arm, and required two surgeries to put my face back together. It's still not perfect but all in all I'm lucky to be alive.
When I got out of the hospital I went and stayed with my dad while I recovered. Since I couldn't move very much or do a whole lot, I spent a lot of time with my computer, and online poker by extension. Two days after I was released I finished 7th in a UB $109 for $700, even though it took most of my energy to stand and walk to the kitchen for a drink (which I had to feed myself through a tube on the end of a syringe, because my mouth was so swollen and wired shut).
But I still had it. I read 2+2 constantly and did my best to study and play and improve my game.
On December 20, eight days after I was released from the hospital, I won the Stars $11r 25k for another $8000. I felt like I was on my way for sure now.

As I recovered I spent more and more time as a presence both at the tables and on the forums online. I started taking shots at bigger tournaments on occasion, but with mixed results. I didn't have another significant win until February 1 when I won the $11r 25k again, this time for $9800.
A week later I won a $109 on Stars for $4500.
I felt great about my game at this point. I was also occasionally visiting Isle of Capri casino in Lake Charles and beating their $5/$5 300NL cash game regularly, so I felt like I could do both well.

Then the downswing: I moved back to Houston for an extended period in February. I probably wasn't quite ready but I thought I'd try anyway. I had some small wins during this time, but nothing substantial. Then in March I hit a serious downswing-- the combination of taking a shot at $2/$4 NL cash on Stars (one of the toughest places for cash games) combined with no big tournament results left me down about $5000 for the month. I was again questioning my game.

At the beginning of April, though, I took second in a Stars $109 for $5300 or so. I went back to my dad's for a couple weeks in April to rest and recuperate from the Houston lifestyle, and while I was there I hit it big:
-first place in the nightly Bodog 25k for $6250
-sixth place in the PartyPoker Super Thursday, another $6000
-second place (after a deal) in the Stars 33r for $6300 or so
-fifth place in UltimateBet's Sunday $215 for $7100

Then at the beginning of May I won my seat into the WSOP through a $160 double shootout on Stars. I can't even put into words what a thrill it was; I won a grueling 45-minute heads-up match against a tough, highly regarded opponent, and now I was going to the Big One, one year after being essentially broke.
I felt like my game was back. And not a moment to soon; I was heading to Turning Stone in May to play a series of tournaments and meet some 2+2ers.

My laptop broke shortly before the trip so I was unable to take it (or play online most of May). At Turning Stone, I only cashed in one of the tournaments I played, but once I got comfortable with the surroundings, I started beating the cash games and ended the trip ahead several thousand dollars.
Again, I felt like I could play cash games well and I might take a shot at them once more.
I fixed my laptop by the end of the month, but I went through a period where I was not only losing consistently, I was playing badly. I was extending one of my philosophies too far: I was taking "You need to be aggressive" and "You need to gamble to win tournaments" to "You should be shoving your chips in any time you have any piece of the board, without considering what your opponent has". I was losing again and struggling to figure out why.
So I decided to try cash games again. I started playing 2/4 NL on Bodog because a couple of people I met at Turning Stone told me the games were really good there. Within a weekend of playing there I moved up to 5/10 and was beating it regularly for a short while. I hit a short downswing, but was still up 5-6k, before I started thinking about tournaments again.

I had been posting on 2+2 regularly and was approaching my 5000th post. I turned it into an essay on my tournament philosophy and the flaws my game currently had and what I would be doing to fix them.
It was pretty well received, and more importantly, writing out my mistakes made me realize I was making them, and that I was being aggressive in the wrong spots, looking for the wrong pieces of information while ignoring the important ones. I felt like it helped clear my head, but again, there was no way to be sure.

Until the Big Day.

June 8 I decided to devote to tournament poker. I entered the Party $33 rebuy 35k guaranteed that afternoon. I love Party rebuys because of the "rebuy trick" (basically, any time you put all your chips in, you can rebuy, whether or not you lose the hand). I used this to amass a huge stack early on, which benefits my style the most.
I spent several hundred on the tournament, easily, but finished second for $7200.

I took a short break and decided to play the big nightly tournaments - the Stars $150 and the Party Super Thursday (also $150).
I finished 11th in the Stars $150-- disappointing because I felt I played well but got a couple tough breaks at the end I couldn't overcome.
I was playing well in the Super also, but I hit a brutal cooler when I made a move with A7 from the button and lost to the small blind's two queens. I was down to 20k chips at 4k/8k blinds; I decided rather than panic or give up, I would be patient.
I got moved to another table, picked up aces shortly after, and called an all in from another player. I won that hand, moved in again and took another round of blinds, and then found A2 in the big blind when the same player moved in from the button. I figured I was short enough that I needed to gamble and he could have almost literally anything, so I called. My A2o beat his 97s.
From that point I relentlessly attacked blinds until I was in shape to play real poker again.
I made it to the final table, and doubled up when one enormous stack was moving in nearly every hand to put pressure on everyone who was waiting for the short stacks to bust out. I called him with queens and beat his K2o, and suddenly I was second and in great shape.
When it got to fourhanded we decided to cut a deal. A little negotiating later and I ended up with 20k for my second-place stack.
All told, it was the biggest payday of my life, by about three times as much as I had ever previously seen. More importantly, I was playing well again-- running well of course, but also playing well enough to take advantage of those breaks.
Now I knew I could win at the higher levels.

The next Friday I was laid up in bed ill and decided to play poker. I entered the Stars afternoon $109 rebuy-- typically regarded as one of the tougher fields online-- and played a strong game, got lucky when I had to, and came away with a 10.5k win. So the Super wasn't a fluke.

The next week-- two days ago, Friday-- I was at it again and I played the Stars $150, among others. I did nothing in the rest, but after a wild ride which included me dropping the chip lead at the final two tables, fighting to get it back, then surviving a wild ride and several lucky breaks as a short stack, I got heads up and eventually won for 14.5k more.

Wow. It had always seemed like every time I would move up I would downswing and struggle for a while, but I would eventually succeed, and when I did it was bigger than ever. This month has been the ultimate example of that.

Nowadays I'm playing primarily $100 and up buyin tournaments online, and $3/$6 6-max and $5/$10 full ring no-limit cash games. I mix them up; I find I can't play the two well simultaneously because the mindsets are different (i.e. I do more dumb things in cash games that work in tournaments but cost a lot more money when you're wrong about them in cash games).

I'm leaving for Las Vegas for the World Series on July 9. I plan to play 10 or 11 preliminary events before the Main Event as well as some live cash games. I'm hoping recent results have been a good sign; if I continue to play as well as I can, and I get the cards to fall right, I think I can make some real noise.

Not bad considering where I came from. It's been an amazing ride.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

My big night at Turning Stone 5-5; or, all the money I made from people not named Roman

I love playing live No Limit. LOVE it. Online is easier to access for me, but live is so much fun and so engaging that I would do it over online any day if I had a consistent access to a good game.

I play a pretty loose cash game; I try to see lots of flops, especially with position and speculative hands, hands people can't put me on. I especially do this at the beginning of a capped game because I'm trying to double and get deep enough so that I can use my skill advantage on later streets as well as make real money when my hands hit.
This results in a swingy return; on an average night I can expect a small profit, but on a big night when I'm running well I can make a ton. This was one of those nights.

The game is 5-5 NLH with a 500 max buyin. I of course buyin for the maximum and routinely top off after I call and miss a flop.
First big hand: I didn't top before this so I have about 475. Two or three limpers to me and I'm in the cutoff and limp with 5c3c. Button folds, small blind checks, and big blind makes it 15. The limpers call, and this is beautiful: I still have position and now the pot is building for when I hit my hand. I call.
The small blind then reraises to 60. Uh-oh.
I think he has a big hand-- aces or kings-- but he made the fatal mistake of not raising enough to drive people out. The big blind calls, one limper folds, the other calls, and now I'm looking at putting in 45 more into a pot of 210, which is easily justifiable especially since I have a little over 400 behind and I know I'm getting the implied odds if I hit.
I call.
The flop is 6c 5h 2c.
Small blind goes all-in, others fold. I know what he has and I call instantly because I am a favorite over aces (17 outs if he doesn't have the ace of clubs; 16 if he does). He turns over aces with no Ac. I hit another 5 on the turn. He's surprisingly cordial about it; he's like "Well played, I would have done the same thing in your spot."

The next guy wasn't.
Ever meet a player who thinks he's technically perfect but really just plays weakly and allows you to hit hands? The guy who insists there's a Right Way and a Wrong Way to play, and if you play the Wrong Way you're an idiot fish? One of these guys sat on my left with 500.
Several limpers come in, and I check my small blind with 7h3h. The Technician raises to 15. This is going to drive nobody out at 5-5 (I would have made it 40 in his spot with anything I wanted to raise). Everyone calls, and what the hell, so do I.
Flop is AQ5 two hearts.
I check and he bets 15 again. Everyone folds, and even though my flush draw is trashy, I'm sure HE doesn't have one, and I'm getting something like 6:1 immediate odds to call, so I do.
Turn is another 5. Check, he bets 25.
Again, I'm getting better than 4:1 and I might even get paid off more if I hit. I call.
River is another heart. I fire 100 into him. He looks really frustrated, thinks about it, sighs, and finally puts in his money and turns over AQ. I show my flush and scoop in the pot. He is not happy, and I can tell. He grumbles a little, and he might be tilting or looking to get me back.
Not long afterward, I'm in the cutoff with 53o. Normally I toss it, but I have a lot of money in front of me and good position on 3 or 4 limpers, so I call to see how it develops. He calls behind and the blinds check.

The flop is Ks6s4x. I have one spade but it's not really relevant. Everyone checks to me and I bet 15, partially to see if anyone else is interested in the pot, and partially to get more money in if I do hit. He raises to 45. Everyone folds. I'm still getting a decent price, and I know he's looking to take something from me, so I call, thinking I definitely have good implied odds against this guy.
Turn is an ace. I check, he bets 40. I'm getting close to 4:1, and this guy will pay me. I call.
River is a 7 and I fire 100. He just flies off the handle and shoves his chips in-- about 200 more. I call immediately and table the straight. He shows A3o and gets up, telling me I'm a terrible player and I make the worst calls he's ever seen.
My initial reaction is verbal defense, which I wish I hadn't done. I wanted to think of something to say to get him to stick around. The best I ended up coming up with when I saw him later was "If I'm so bad, come back around, and you'll probably get it back." I talked it over with one of my friends the other day and he said something like "Yeah, I like to gamble, sorry I got lucky," would have been better, and I agree.
I don't think it would have mattered, though. Guy was a pill anyway.

Last hand isn't as interesting, but it was still a massive pot. UTG with two queens I open to 20. Guy in L/MP (two or three off the button) makes it 50 with about 525 behind. Everyone passes, and I can't fold my queens yet, so I call.
Flop is Q82. I lead 50 (and I probably should have led more). He makes it 150, and I think for a few seconds and call, hoping he figures me for AQ (and FWIW I might well dump AQ preflop in this spot-- reverse implied odds and all.
Turn is a 7. I check, he bets 250, and I checkraise all in. The trap is set, and he knows, but it's too late. He groans and says "I think you have me, but I have to call," and puts in his last 375, turning over two kings. River bricks and I scoop the pot in.

I ended up leaving the table with about $2200. All in all it was a hell of a night and a great example of why I play my loose-aggressive style: People often don't know what I have, and when I hit big hands, people pay them off because they're usually well-concealed and I don't try to slowplay them.

Out for now. More later, perhaps on Turning Stone, perhaps on some online hands.

How my big June is breaking down

I've broken through to another level in tournaments this month. I've finally started winning at the higher levels I've been shooting at. Here's how I've done this month-- what I've won and how it's broken down:

June 8: The Big Day
I spent most of the day playing poker this day and had some big scores at Party. I finished second place in their afternoon $33 rebuy $35k for ~$7200. Later that night I played the nightly Super on Party ($150+12) and made a deal when it got fourhanded, taking $20k. (First place was $31k and second was $17k or so; in the deal the chip leader got $23k and I got the second-most money.)
That night I also finished 11th in the Stars $150 for $800. That was disappointing; 3 big final tables in one day would have been sexy.
Still though it turned out to be a ~28k day. That's three times as much as I'd made in any day previous.

June 16: Laid up at home, so I won the Stars $109r
I woke up on almost no sleep feeling really ill that Friday, either from the big meal I'd had the night before or from a virus I caught from visiting my folks in Lake Charles. Laid up, feeling terrible, I decided to do the one thing I can do when I'm bedridden: play online poker. I entered a few tournaments, but I only made noise in one: the afternoon $100+9 rebuy on Stars, where I finished 1st for about 10.5k. It was my second-biggest cash to date

June 23:
Forgot the Special, but this was a nice consolation prize
So I had laid out all the tournaments I was going to play tonight and lined up to register for everything. Unfortunately, I had crashed and burned in everything except the Stars $150 (some people call it the Stuper; I'm moving to have it called the Royale with Cheese, or at least the Royale for short). I meant to enter the $215 Party Friday Special at 9, but forgot to register. I opened the tournament lobby a full 45 minutes in advance and simply assumed I had registered. Nope.
I was playing ultra-tight in the first hour of the Stars $150 because a)I was getting no hands and b)I was playing four tables and didn't have the focus to bully the table. But I doubled up at some key points, and when I was out of everything else, I got extra-focused and played my A-game most of the way through. I blew the chip lead at two tables but didn't give up; I fought back, and I got wild as the blinds got high, but I made it through. After a grueling heads-up duel in which my opponent came back from three big blinds on two separate occasions, I closed it out for 14.5k.

So it's been a good month. I feel like I'm getting well prepared for the World Series. I've been going through stretches in the last six months where I'll have a big win or two, try to move up and break even or struggle, stop to reassess my game, and then have another breakthrough. It happened in April when I landed four solid cashes (6th in a Party Super Thursday, 1st in a Bodog 25k, 5th in an UltimateBet 200k, and 2nd in a Stars 33 rebuy), and I feel like it's happening again.

If I keep running good and I'm playing as well as I think I am I could make real noise at the World Series.

I won the Stars $150 tonight

This is one I'd been after for a while, since I'd moved up to higher buyins. It had eluded me but I finally took first after an extremely wild final table and protracted heads up battle for a little over 14.5k.

I'll probably put the video up on PokerXFactor. It was a wild tournament and I got very lucky along the way. But for now let's just add this to the tally; June has been an absolutely sick month for me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Date set

I finally heard back from Pokerstars.
I'll be running in Day 1C of the WSOP. So my first day of play in the Main Event is July 30.
I still want to get up there on the 9th; I expect to hear back more with regards to my reservation soon.


I just dropped four buyins in an hour 3-tabling Party 3/6 6-max.
I'm not even sure how to explain it. I made a couple of really stupid pushes, and just didn't hit any hands, and on the few I did I didn't get paid.
I'm sure part of it is variance but I also played like crap.
This seems to be a recurring theme: I move up a level or to a new site or new game and crush it for about a week. Then, DOWNSWING.
I'm counting on being able to beat this to get me through the next few months, the WSOP, etc. Days like this suck.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The biggest hand I ever folded, and why

I posted this hand on the 2+2 forums and got lambasted for it, and I certainly know why. But I think it was the right decision, and I hated myself for it, but in the end I made it.

It was at Turning Stone casino. My first or second night there and I'm playing 5-5 NL, 500 max buyin. I'm still feeling my way around the table, and the casino, and how to best play live cash games (which I haven't done in a while-- damn me for convincing myself to play online instead of at Isle of Capri when I go to Lake Charles!)
I'm playing relatively conservatively preflop, since my style tends toward seeing lots of flops, with sometimes random holdings, to try to hit big and bust people. So I'm not open-raising a whole lot.

Anyway: I'm on a decent run and have about 1400 to start the hand. Guy on my right, in 2nd or 3rd position (10-handed) limps in. I limp behind with two eights (this would not happen now, and it wouldn't have happened, like, the next day. Still feeling my way). Maybe four people come along and the blinds check.

The flop comes down 8s 7s 4c. Rock and roll! Pot's $35-40 minus rake.
The guy on my right leads out $25. He seems like a pretty good player. I can't slowplay on a board with this many draws so I pop it to $75. It folds around to the small blind who'd been playing a pretty tight, even nitty game. He makes it $200 more and is sitting on about $1100 behind that.

Ay ay ay.

The first guy folds. I'm agonizing, and I would never agonize here ordinarily. Something about him is just giving off the vibe that he has 65 and absolutely nothing else. He might have a set, sure. But the more I study him, the more I realize he seems utterly confident in his hand. And I know if we play it out, it's going to be for stacks.
I think it over for five minutes; I want to get it in with top set but every bone in my body is screaming "fold, he's got the stone nuts". I get the clock called on me and with about fifteen seconds left I kick it in.

I posted this and got responses ranging from "This sucks" to "Move down in stakes" to "Quit poker altogether."

I never really explained why I ended up making the fold but I think I can articulate it now.

It breaks down for me several ways:

-I didn't raise preflop. If I had, the bets would be bigger, and there might be enough money in the pot to shove in my chips even thinking I was up against a straight and hope to hit a full house.
-Also, my opponent's nittiness meant that if I had raised preflop, I could probably confidently narrow 65 from his holdings, or at least reduce the likelihood in my mind he has it enough to justify continuing on, because I don't think he'd call a raise with it from the blinds.
-In addition, I think his nittiness was such that if I had just called and the board paired, he may well have folded a straight. It's got to be pretty evident that when I raise a bet and call a large third raise in an unraised pot I must have a set. And he was tight enough that I think he could get away from it.
-His demeanor. At no point did he seem worried about having the worst hand, and if he had 77 I think I would have picked up something on him that he wasn't 100% comfortable.
-Metagame and stack sizes. Not from the specific fold, but because of the table. There's a very loose and rather wild player (I believe Mike was his name and "Action Mike" was what he was known as) who has a stack similar in size to mine. I want to have him covered because he will pay me off quite readily with second-best hands and I can bust him for a much bigger score. (And by wild I mean he'll bluff the river any time he thinks he sees weakness, and he makes way too many loose calls-- in two subsequent hands that week I got him to pay off my Broadway straight on a KQJTx board with two pair, and I got him to stack off with A8 when I raised preflop with AK, he called, a short stack moved all in, and I moved in over the top.)
If I'm wrong here-- if he does this with exactly 65 and 77 I'm about even money and not getting a great overlay to play for my stack-- I'm bust and have to rebuy for 500. That means I can't cover Mike. That means I can't get full value from a hand when I hit a big one on him.

It was a perfect storm of situations. I don't think it would ever come up again. I mean, if any one thing is different, I probably go with it.

-If I raise preflop, I go ahead and go with it.
-If I'm playing online and can't observe my opponent, I probably go with it.
-If either one of us had less money, I go with it. (Keep in mind my immediate pot odds are close to 2:1 but I know we're going for stacks so it's really more like 1300 to win 1500, not 200 to win 400. The less he has or I have the more often I can be wrong and still be making a proper call.)
-If having a loose fishy player covered was not a concern, I go with it.

I found out later from the guy on his right (a 2+2 lurker I met at TS and talk to somewhat regularly now) that I did in fact make the correct fold. I mean-- I can't imagine making that fold again, especially considering the way I was playing once I got in my groove at the live games (and some of the crazy calls I made later in the week).
But here, in the moment, it seemed absolutely right. And sometimes, you just have to go with that.

(I wouldn't take this as a suggestion to try to make me fold a big hand, though. I hate doing it. And I don't mind picking people off. But everything is situational. Everything.)

Next post I'll put up some fun hands from later in the week-- my first big night at 5-5, when I was in my groove and playing lots of hands and position preflop and hitting well. Like someone on 2+2 wrote about Sammy Farha's play on High Stakes Poker, "a LAG who catches cards always looks like the smartest player at the table."

EDIT: I should clarify some points about the hand in question. First, when I say it was "the right fold", I don't mean that if this situation were to regularly come up it would be the right fold every time; I mean, specifically this time, and after talking to the person who was sitting next to the player in question, I found out the villain did in fact have 65.
Anyone who knows how I play knows I hate making big folds, or for that matter, any folds. I can't imagine a situation coming up where I would do this again. I'm sure even if I played the spot again I would probably at least call, so there's something to be said that perhaps I wasn't quite in my comfort zone live.
I don't post this hand because I'm particularly proud of the fold; I post it because I think it's one of the most unique hands I've ever played and I wanted to provide some insight to my thought process. So many of the people who roasted me seem to be online-only players who just refuse to use the added information available when playing someone in person.
(By the way, I think 77 is a pretty easy fold here.)

Upcoming events

So this Sunday is the big end-of-the-month tournaments for most of the sites. They all run large Sunday tournaments but several of them run bigger ones at the end of the month. In particular Pokerstars, beginning this year, has begun running a quarterly tournament that's even bigger. Each Sunday's tournament is a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, but the regular Sundays are a $200+15 buyin, the monthlies are a $500+30, and the quarterly is a whopping $1000+50. What this boils down to is that most weeks you see between 4000-6000 runners; the monthly tends to attract 3000-4000; and the last quarterly took in just over 2000. A smaller field is always better for variance's sake, but it'll still be tough.
I've been trying to satellite into the tournament but with no success so far. I don't really like satellites, but I don't want to drop the full buy-in either. If worst comes to worst I'll try to play enough cash games to justify dropping a buy-in. (I've been having good results at Bodog 3/6 and 5/10 NL full ring and Party 3/6 6-max, so it's doable).
Of course I'll hit the big Party tournaments as well; I'm not sure which other ones run specifically large monthly tournaments but I plan to play all the Sundays anyway.

After that, my attention turns to the World Series of Poker. The main event doesn't start until July 28, but my goal is to arrive on July 9. Stars is covering my ME entry and the hotel for that time (guaranteed through August 4 and all the way further if I still have chips then); I still need somewhere to stay before then. I'm hoping to find an affordable hotel or possibly crash in a house with some 2+2ers until then. I want to play some live games and some of the earlier bracelet events. Here's the schedule of the ones I want to play:

10-Jul-06 Monday 12 noon 17 No-Limit Hold'em (3 day event) $1,000.00
13-Jul-06 Thursday 12 noon 21 No-Limit Hold'em- Short handed 6/table (3 day event) $2,500.00
14-Jul-06 Friday 12 noon 22 No-Limit Hold'em (3 day event) $2,000.00
16-Jul-06 Sunday 12 noon 25 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout (3 day event) $2,000.00
17-Jul-06 Monday 12 noon 26 Pot-Limit Omaha (2 day event) $1,500.00
18-Jul-06 Tuesday 12 noon 27 No-Limit Hold'em (2 day event) $1,500.00
20-Jul-06 Thursday 12 noon 30 No-Limit Hold'em- Short handed 6/table (3 day event) $5,000.00
21-Jul-06 Friday 12 noon 31 No-Limit Hold'em (3 day event) $2,000.00
22-Jul-06 Saturday 2:00 PM 33 Seven Card Razz (2 day event) $1,500.00
24-Jul-06 Monday 12 noon 35 Seven Card Hi Low Split (2 day event) $1,000.00
25-Jul-06 Tuesday 12 noon 37 No-Limit Hold'em (3 day event) $1,500.00
28-Jul-06 Friday 39 No-Limit Texas Hold'em World Championship Event $10,000.00

Clearly I don't have the bankroll to buy in directly to everything. I'm hoping some combination of satellites and cash game winnings both before and during the Series will cover it. I already have won $1,500 in WSOP entry chips through Full Tilt; I'm trying to win more. I'm hoping my recent cash play is a good indicator that I can be a winning player; if that's the case I'll play more online until I get there and I'll play a lot live when I am there (I hear the games are quite good around tourney time).

I love playing live, more than I do playing online, and so I'm really excited for this trip. A real adventure, a chance to see how well I do on the big stage.
The main event ends the 10th of August. Whether or not I'm still in it, I plan to stay that long, either for the second-chance tournaments, the cash games, or the Whole Experience.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So this is my new poker blog. I plan to be writing more in depth here about poker because it doesn't quite fit my livejournal audience.

This is just an initial post. No content yet. When I have some time in the day or two I'll tell my story a little, put up some links to other stuff I've written, and maybe talk about what I've done recently.

Welcome readers. (And welcome me to the poker-blogging scene, I suppose.)