Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finally something good to talk about......

Well there have been 2 things that my game has been missing that last few weeks that I have talked about here, a big performance in a huge tournament and and a win. Last night I got them both, finishing 4th in the FullTilt 1k for 26k and following that by winning the Pokerstars 10 rebuy marathon known as the 55k guarantee for about 13.5k. Both tournaments felt really good, and though I was a little disappointed with my performance at the 1k FT I do feel like a monkey was some what lifted off my back.

Like most tournies for me, the mid stages were a roller coaster for me. With like 5 minutes left @ 100-200 level, I had a very good stack around 12k when everything started going crazy. 1st A_Junglen shoves 1,900 from the button w/ 56o, I make a good call in the SB w/ A6cc thinking I was likely ahead of his range and to my delight he was dominated. Turn 5 no problem. No big deal, but then the guy to his immediate right raises to 720 @ 120-240 25a on the button with 2300 behind, I shove him with QK and he instacalls with Q10o. AKx flop, turn a J and instead of 18k I had 7.5k and was a little frustrated. 2 levels later, 140-280 25a and the cut-off opened for 800 or so, A_Junglen had just been abusing the fuck out of this player and made it 2300 w/ about 5k behind. Given how weak the c/o was in general, I knew AJ's range wasnt really tight and I re-shipped from the SB w/ JJ, losing 16k pot to AJ's KK. :( I still had about 4k and went into grind mode, eventually getting to the 15k mark when we hit the 250-500 50a level with about 50 people left.

Paying 27 spots, I just started going nutts attacking the bubble with very little restraint from any of the players at the table. I was actually pretty suprised by this, but who am I to complain? With 36 left and the official bubble arriving I was sitting top 5 in chips with 40k and blinds of 600-1200 with a 150a. My favorite time in poker is a bubble in a tournament with a large ante when I have a stack, and FullTilt is the best site online for this. When we hit the money at 27, I had gone from my 40k or so w/ 36 left to over 85k and I was the chip leader. I had almost no resistance on the bubble, though I did double a guy who had about 12k with A7 vs AQ. From 27 to the final table of 9 was alot of the same and I entered the final table as the chip leader with over 200k.

Playing for such big money, the final table play was very tight and the other big stack was 2 to my left and kept re-popping the fuck out of me. He was clearly going after me, and I had decent hands but never had anything I could 4-bet him pre-flop, and every decent hand I had when we would see flops would completely miss me. I don't think he was very good necessarily but he was fortunate to have picked his spots well. I spewed my way down to about 100k with 2k-4k when I lost a very key showdown. With 6 or 7 left and the blinds 2k-4k, a shorter stack how had just lost 1/2 his chips moved all-in for 42kish 2 off the button and I had A10 in the BB. From what I had observed, this player had been pretty tight, but I also felt he had to push alot of hands from this spot and at the laast second I decided to call. He flipped K9o, 1067 flop was good for me, turn brick, river 8 :(. If I win the pot I'm over 150k, instead I had to go into grind mode with 60k or so.

Fortunately for me, with 5 left the guy to my immediate left just kept folding every time I shoved his BB. This guy was a complete nit, folded his way down to 22k @ 4k-8k blinds before picking up AK and doubling. As you could imagine, I was not thrilled to look down to 88 in the BB when this player shoved my BB for like 45k. I had him covered barely, by like 3k, and with these blinds I couldn't fold 88, but I thought I was racing at best. He ended up flipping up 66, I held and 4 handed I had about 105k, vs 3 other guys who were between 220k-300k. NP, I've been here before and I know I will have to gambol soon and I'm generally good at picking my spots to steal while chipping up my short stack. Unfortunately I shoved 74k on button w/ J8hh at 4k-8k and missed vs SB's KK on Q10xA board, out 4th for $26,325. Disappointing considering the chip lead I brought to final table no doubt, but it felt good to have my 1st 5-figure score in a tournament with a buy-in greater then $20 since January.

After I busted in FTP, I was still in UB 11pm 100nl, the 55k and stars 100nl @ 1am. I made a really poor shove pre-flop of a chronic limper w/ 88 for 22 BBs at 200-400 from the c/o with 88 and only the SB having having me covered and of course he woke up to 1010. I finished like 17th in the UB which was good enough to make the $, all be it I probably cashed for like $150 bux only. Then there was the 55k domination, which I am going to write about later because I don't feel like putting forth the effort I'd like at this time while playing. Lastly, really looking forward to the 1k Super Tuesday on stars tonight...one time be the suck out god that you are in a big buy-in on stars BeL0W.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Most people reading this know that I have a permanent chat ban on Poker Stars. This morning I woke up to find out that Full Tilt has taken my chat away for the next 3 months. I find this kind of funny in a way, well I guess you could say ironic. Everyday playing on Full Tilt I see railbirds spamming advertisements for websites or scams to sell various tournament seats at a huge discount. Well, since I can no longer respond I guess I have a reason to turn off observer chat permanently since that has always annoyed me. The biggest annoyance with no chat is that I can't change the expression of my avatar, which is one of the coolest features exclusive to their site. Whatever......

Another awful weekend of running miserably followed closely by awful play for me. When players run bad, they often take a negative approach at the tables and are hesitant to commit chips in a hand. I do this a lot when I'm running bad. I'm very cautious putting all my chips in pre-flop, even on the flop to an extent and it leads to me leaking chips pre and post flop which is just awful poker. I'm going to try to put forth extra effort towards taking a more positive approach towards poker. I will run good today!!

Real quick congrats to Atimos for making the final table of the million on Pokerstars for the 2nd time yesterday, taking home close to 60k for his 5th place finish. He won this tournament back in November which was good for 250k. Also congratulations to Four6suited, also known as badbeatslayer, and JohnnyBax who finished 1/2 in the Full Tilt 400k guarantee last night. I think this is where I lost my chat, lol. Dana defeated Cliff heads up for her 1st win in a sunday major and 95k to go with it. Cliff earned almost 60k for his 2nd place finish, and they both played an excellent tournament, and had a tough final table to fight through that included 2 other ranked players, one who was going for his 2nd win in this tournament.

Time to win me some monies~

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yet another weekend ahead......

Back to the grind today after taking a few days off and and also playing just the evening tournaments a couple nights the last few days. Taking a few days away from the game is almost always a good thing for most players, at least I know it is for me. I find that I usually comeback a little more focused mentally and tend to put up some better results. Thats not saying playing a ton of hours over a short period of time is a bad thing, I also find I do well during these periods too. We all just need to take a break at some point.

So yesterday was my birthday, and last night we went out for my birthday. Jason and his girlfriend arranged for Grandma to watch Jr. and along with my roommate Mike, his girlfriend Patria and George we had a few drinks at my apartment before finally hitting Madison street about 11. When Mike and I were apartment hunting last spring one of the most attractive things about our apartment was the location. We literally walk out of our apartment and take about 10 steps and we are on Madison Street in Forest Park, which has a strip of about 15 bars in a 3 week run at our disposal where a lot of people we know from the surrounding suburbs go to hang out. It's great being able to go out and have a few drinks and not have to worry about how you will get home, and Madison street is usually pretty hopping.

This was not the case last night. Perhaps because of the memorial day weekend the usual suspects decided to go down town to party, but Madison was pretty dead and after just a couple beers at 2 different bars we found ourselves calling it a night and I was at home and in bed by 1:30 or so. I don't know why this is, but a weird thing has happened when I've attempted to sleep after a night of drinking the last 2 times out. Most who know me know I have very weird sleeping patterns, usually not falling a sleep before 6 A.M. and most nights only sleeping 5 or 6 hours. Last night I was out cold by 2 A.M. but woke up at 5 A.M. and I was not able to get back to sleep. I layed in bed for about 30 minutes before finally turning the T.V. on and flipping through the channels for a couple hours before I got back to sleep. At least I was able to get another 4 hours of sleep before having to play today, and I don't feel tired really. Last Thursday was different when I went out to the bars and got home around 1 A.M. I was a sleep by 2 A.M. and again woke up at 5 A.M. This time I wasn't able to get back to sleep until after 10 A.M. and I ended up sleeping all afternoon missing the afternoon tournaments. Lying in bed last night, I was fearing I was going to repeat this. I'm not quite sure why these almost identical situations took place, and I have only had a "weird" sleeping experience after a night of drinking 1 other time, and that was after the only time I ever drank vodka-redbulls last summer in Vegas.

Real quick I wanted to congratulate a couple of friends of mine, Cory "UGOTPZD" Carroll and Darrell "gigabet" Dicken on finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Mirage WPT 10k main event. Nice job, great playing guys.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's been a few days......

I haven't really posted anything since Monday's entry except for my World Series Schedule for this summer. I'm looking forward to this year's series for a couple different reasons. This will be my 3rd different WSOP and again I'm taking a new approach. My 1st WSOP in 2005 I went out to Vegas at the last minute with a pretty tiny bankroll when a guy who had backed me in a few tournaments online sold me a dream and led me to believe that I would receive backing if I came out. When I got there, he was no where and I ended up playing a couple events with my own money which was way out of my bankroll. This led to one of the toughest periods of my poker career as the following months after the WSOP I ended up going broke and finding myself back in the real world job hunting and accepting my failures at this game. Thankfully somebody saved me and I have been able to continue to play this game I love.

Last summer I was alot more prepared, and had rented a house in Henderson with 4 other online players. I lined up backing for any event I wanted to play and I was determined to do well. Everyday pretty much was the same thing. I would go to the Rio at noon, bust from the WSOP event, head over to bellagio for the 1k at 2, bust from that and head back to the Rio for the 500 second chance at 5, and when I busted from that go back to the Bellagio for the 1k at 7, heading home after I busted there. Over the entire Summer I managed to rack up about 90k in buy-ins, making a grand total of 2 dinner breaks, 0 day 2's and zero cashes. It wasn't that I played bad, I definitely ran awful but I could have saved alot of money in buy-ins if I didn't play all of those second chances and just focused on the series.

This year I'm taking a different approach, cutting out most of the 2nd chance tournaments and focusing on getting that bracelet. Another difference is I will not be spending 2 months straight in Las Vegas, instead making 2 trips of about 2 weeks with a 2 week break in between where I will be back home. As I type this, I'm suppose to be in Vegas in 10 days and have yet to arrange where I will stay, so I guess I combining the 1st two experiences a little bit. Worst comes to worst I will probably stay at the Gold Coast which is fairly inexpensive and right next to the Rio.
Monday was a very disappointing day of poker for me. I made the final table of the afternoon 100r, with another disappointing finish of 8th. This has been the norm for me lately, if I make a decent final table I've been racking up alot of 7th-9th place finishes. This has been really frustrating considering I'm used to making the top 3 once I make the final table at least 40% of the time, and since I won the TLB on Pokerstars in April I only have 5 final tables with 1 3rd place finish and zero wins. Eventually the frustration has to get to the player, and even the very best are rarely immune to this. This definitely showed in my tournaments Monday night as I lacked focus in every tournament, making ridiculous bluffs in every tournament and only making 1 break out of 8 tournaments I played (not including the 1st break of rebuy tournaments.)

Tuesday was a long over due day off, and I got to spend it with my family. I went over to my Mom's house and had dinner with my Mom, 2 sister's, 3 nephews, niece and my sister's friend John in celebration of my Birthday (which is actually today.) It was a fun time, but I especially enjoyed the 45 minute car ride to my Mom's house getting to sit in between Tyler (4 going on 5) and Madison (3 going on 21). You would be amazed how many different games you can play in the back seat of a mini-van with the imaginations of the youngsters. My Mom and sister helped to cook a great dinner of Steak for the adults, burgers and hot dogs for the little ones along with twice baked potatoes and some vegetable (how would I know? I don't eat veggies). It was good to see the family.

It's almost 2 years old, but Madison, Timmy, Tyler and Kyle(the baby in front) my nephews and neice showing their excellent taste in sports teams =)

The last 2 nights I played a short schedule both nights, and managed to make 2 Final Tables on stars, unfortunately neither was a top 3 finish. Tonight, with 21 left in the 100r which paid 18 my recent brutal luck deep continued. We were both top 5 in chips at the time, this pot was for the chip lead of the tournament......

PokerStars Game #10091713054: Tournament #50597390, $100+$9 Hold'em No Limit - Level XIV (1500/3000) - 2007/05/24 - 23:44:56 (ET)
Table '50597390 6' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 2: Tony_Hibbert (44992 in chips)
Seat 3: t soprano (56722 in chips)
Seat 4: hanstalstad (46280 in chips)
Seat 5: LukeFromB13 (73429 in chips)
Seat 7: SEEK_ONE (36623 in chips)
Seat 8: BeL0WaB0Ve (76500 in chips)
Seat 9: Bjorn_I_Hi (92980 in chips)
Tony_Hibbert: posts the ante 150
t soprano: posts the ante 150
hanstalstad: posts the ante 150
LukeFromB13: posts the ante 150
SEEK_ONE: posts the ante 150
BeL0WaB0Ve: posts the ante 150
Bjorn_I_Hi: posts the ante 150
hanstalstad: posts small blind 1500
LukeFromB13: posts big blind 3000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BeL0WaB0Ve [As Js]
SEEK_ONE: folds
BeL0WaB0Ve: raises 5750 to 8750
Bjorn_I_Hi: folds
Tony_Hibbert: folds
t soprano: folds
hanstalstad: folds
LukeFromB13: calls 5750
*** FLOP *** [Ts Jh 3s]
LukeFromB13: checks
BeL0WaB0Ve: bets 11100
LukeFromB13: raises 24900 to 36000
BeL0WaB0Ve: raises 31600 to 67600 and is all-in
LukeFromB13: calls 28529 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [Ts Jh 3s] [7d]
*** RIVER *** [Ts Jh 3s 7d] [Qc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
LukeFromB13: shows [Qs Kc] (a pair of Queens)
BeL0WaB0Ve: shows [As Js] (a pair of Jacks)
LukeFromB13 collected 149108 from pot
Bjorn_I_Hi said, "siiiiiiiiiigh"

I'm not a fan of overplaying AJ, but this is the dream flop for my hand. As soon as I start winning these pots I know the great finishes will begin to pile up. The sooner the better ;-).

The last 2 nights I haven't been blogging when done playing as I have been spending time recording videos for www.pokerxfactor.com. With the WSOP coming up, are goal is to "bank" some videos for the next few months as most of us will not have time to record with all the live play. I had 3 projects I wanted to complete and 17 days to do them. With 10 days left I have knocked out 2 of the 3, the pot-limit omaha video and the video of my pokerstars nightly 55k win, leaving just 1 more project which is a video of a $25 freeze out from pokerstars where I managed to go deep. I really enjoy making these videos and being able to give back to the poker community. Very few of us are able to just get better on our own, I couldn't begin to list how many people have helped improve my game over the last 2 years, and a lot of people don't have the benefit of having other players to discuss hands with.

Tonight we have plans to go bar hopping for my birthday. We'll start at my apartment, and more then likely end up there at the end of the night so who knows how much poker I will play on Saturday considering how much alcohol I will likely consume tomorrow night. Ugh, people over means I need to clean my room tomorrow =/.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My 2007 World Series of Poker Schedule

World series events I’m looking forward to playing this summer.

Tue, Jun 5th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em w/Re-Buys (Event 8)
Rebuy/Add-on Event
Structure Sheet $1,000

Wed, Jun 6th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 10)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $2,000

Thu, Jun 7th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em / Six Handed (Event 12)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $1,500

Fri, Jun 8th
3-Day Event World Championship Pot Limit Hold'em (Event 13)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $5,000

Sat, Jun 9th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 15)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $1,500

Mon, Jun 11th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 19)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $2,500

Wed, Jun 13th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 22)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $5,000

Thu, Jun 14th
2-Day Event Pot Limit Omaha (Event 23)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $1,500

Fri, Jun 15th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 25)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $2,000

Sat, Jun 16th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 27)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $1,500

Sun, Jun 17th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em (Event 28)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $3,000

Sun, Jun 17th
2-Day Event Seven Card Razz (Event 29)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $1,500

Mon, Jun 18th
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold'em / Six Handed (Event 30)
No Rebuy/Add-ons
Structure Sheet $2,500

Head home for 2 weeks, my best friend George is getting married the last weekend in June.

Back for main a couple days early to play 2nd 1k rebuy

Mon, Jul 2nd
3-Day Event No-Limit Hold’em w/Re-Buys (Event 52)
Rebuy/Add-on Event
Structure Sheet $1,000

July 3rd-5th play the bellagio cup 2,500, 5,000, 5,000

Focus on main Event starting on day 1B or 1C the 7th or 8th

Bellagio Cup main event starting July 10th or July 11th if I’m not still in main event (so this event is highly doubtful)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Netiher one could possibly be human...and dealing with the growing pains

We all know him as Imper1um or Zangbezan24 online, and yesterday I came to the conclusion that Sorel Mizzi just is not and absolutely could not be human. Two words pretty much sum it all up, incredible weekend. Friday night he took down FTOPS event #9 for 40k, Saturday he nearly made the final table of FTOPS event #10, the 100 rebuy, and for an encore on Sunday He won yet another World Series seat on stars and took down the Sunday warm-up, an event he took 2nd in only 2 and a half months ago, for nearly 110k. He also went deep and cashed in the FTOPS main event where he got sucked out on for 2 pretty big pots on the river vs the same guy after getting his money in good, otherwise he probably would have been a factor there as well. With all that he dominates, and on such a consistent basis in all of the biggest tournaments, I officially consider him the most dominant online tournament play ever to play online on a consistent basis. Sorry JohnnyBax, you are still my favorite :). Oh yea, what makes this even more impressive? He did this all in Paris where he is traveling for some french live donkfest. Away from the comfort of your home, usually playing many games on a tiny laptop instead of 2 big monitors, is the hardest thing to do, at least for me.

This was originally gonna just be about Sorel, but man is Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby almost equally as sick. In the last 2 months Jared has won 3 live tournaments, taking down the $2,500 pre-lim at the bellagio WPT championship which was followed days later by a win in the $2,000 pre-lim during the same serious for over 500k combined. He then went on to cash in one of the toughest live events ever, the 25k WPT Championship Main event. That wasn't enough for him so he decided to take down the $1,000 Pre-lim at the Mirage WPT for another 100k. Today he will be starting day 3 of the 10k main event at the Mirage, down to 40 people and 13 away from his 2nd consecutive cash in a WPT Main Event on his journey to the 1 million dollar 1st place prize. Not to mention his 3 final tables last week in the Poker Stars 100 rebuys, where he had a 5th, took a night off from domination then finished back to back nights 1st and 2nd. The 3 scores combined were worth close to 50k.....sick!

Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby on day 2 of WPT Mirage. One of my favorite tournament pictures ever taken..courtesy of Court Harrington of www.pocketfiveslive.com

Growing Pains. Every poker player has to deal with them, unless of course your name is Imper1um. From the 1st moment I saw him railing me in a FullTilt tournament, I thought Sn8wman was just another crazy railbird. Gboro780 told me from day1 I was wrong, and I will be the 1st to admit that I was. Brian is a young 18 year old is a dedicated student of the game who has been constantly picking the brains of any top player who was willing to talk to him. His results since I first saw him on my rail have reflected this dedication he has for this game, as he has been doing well in alot of the biggest and toughest tournaments on the net. It's pretty safe to say he hates poker today, at least I would if I were him.

Sn8wman had 2 great finishes yesterday, finishing 5th in the Pokerstars 200k 2nd chance for over 12k, and Final tabling the biggest tournament of the day taking 9th place in the FTOPS main event for 25k. With about 20 people left, he was 3rd in chips with about 2.5 million. A little perspective on his situation, when they would hit the final table the average stack of the remaining 9 players would be just a shade over 2 million. I remember feeling what he was probably experiencing at this point. The excitement, the nerves, the pressure of not making that one crucial mistake and "choking" at what might be your best chance ever at a 6-figure score online. Even for the greatest players, with the size of the fields these days the opportunity to take down an event such as this one or the Pokerstars Sunday Million maybe a once in a life time opportunity.

I remember when I had my chance. It was the last Sunday of February in 2006 on Party Poker during their monthly 750k guarantee with a 350+28 buy-in. I'm not positive on the exact payouts, but I remember cashing for roughly 70k when I finished 3rd, so I'd imagine the top 3 spots were 1st- 200kish, 2nd-100kish, 3rd-70k. I remember the natural nervousness I felt. I did however have 2 things going for me. First, the fact that 4 months before I had my "introduction" to real pressure when I made the final table of the Paradise 150k guarantee. I passed that test with flying colors, winning the tournament for just under 30k. The prize pool was nothing compared to this party tournament, but I remember the final table was stacked with great players including Roothlus and JohnnyBax amongst others. I should have busted very early at this final table, but fortunately JohnnyBax is a great player and made a standard fold pre-flop for great players. I dont remember the exact situation, but we were 8-10 handed and it was the typical Paradise push fest. The blinds were like 4k-8k, and the chip leader who was opening alot made a standard raise to like 22k, and I shoved like 150k all-in with AQ. At the time, I didn't know Bax except from playing with him on stars and we had yet to become the close friends we are today. In the SB Bax tanked forever, having a decent stack which was in between mine and the CL's and eventually folded AK. CL called with KK, I hit my ace which would have been out-kicked if Bax called too and went on to win the tourney.

The second thing I had going for me was the support group I had around me. With about 60 left my messengers were nutts with friends excited for my opportunity. I'd say I had about 20+ friends messaging me, but I remember specifically responding to only 3 or 4 players who were major factors in keeping me calm. The others I would respond when I had a chance but didn't take an urgency to it. I remember specifically wanting to play perfect poker and not make any mistakes once we were down to 100 people or so since I had a pretty good stack. One specific example of this was from 100 people left until we were down to 6 or 7 I remember folding AQ EVERYTIME someone had open raised ahead of me, even when the raise was from late position. It was the one hand I didn't want to lose my tourney with. Then finally with 6 or 7 left at the final table, I was one of the shorter stacks when a slightly shorter stack moved all-in from the c/o or button in what was pretty much an any 2 shove for him and I re-shoved from either the button or small blind (I remember there was at least 1 if not 2 players behind me), knowing that if I lost the pot I would almost certainly be the next one eliminated. The other guy was live with something like K7 and I held with Ace High. I ended up busting 3rd after I went from chip leader to crippled when I shoved KJs vs the 2nd stacks 88 and lost a race. When I made the push, the blinds were 50k-100k, and the original raiser had like 1.8m when he 3x'd, I had 2.2m ish and the short stack had 900k. Pretty standard play considering the stacks and the pay jumps.

OK, back to Sn8wman. Here Brian is with a most excellent shot at 336k for 1st (more then most people make in 10 years of working for the man) and having already locked up 9.5k with 2 tables left. I imagine his nerves must have been at his highest level ever while playing poker at least. I was talking to gboro on messenger who was helping keep him calm in such an intense moment. Brian asked gboro for my messenger and Brian and I began talking. At this point Brian had lost some pots and had gone from his peak of 2.5millionish to about 1.6m, but he was still in awesome shape with the blinds only being 25k-50k and this being the greatest structure ever online in my opinion. My intentions were not to try and help him in any hands but to try and provide a calming influence as others had for me. I asked him how many people he was talking to on messenger, as too many voices is never a good thing. To my surprise he was only talking to 1 other person besides gboro, martine23. Thats a pretty excellent duo over poker intelligance if you ask me, as they both play near perfect poker. He had been opening pots to 150k, standard 3x the BB and was getting re-poped alot. I told him I wanted to only give him 1 tip and that was to decrease the size of his raise to between 115k-130k as they have the same effect as 150k and when you get re-popped you save 25-35k if you end up deciding to fold.

Anyways, everything was going wrong for Brian and he was soon down to about 900k after getting re-popped pre-flop and losing a confrontation in a battle of the blinds vs a very tough opponent who was in the SB. Lucky for him the break was just in time, but he was in a somewhat panic mode, insisting he had to get off messenger and focus on getting this done. I tried to calm him for the 5 minutes he had on break and offered him one last tip. With blinds being 30k-60k, he had that awkward 15 BB stack that is tough to play. I told him to tighten up on opening pots instead looking for good oppurtunities to move his stack in vs someone else who opened a pot. This is definitely the best way to play a 15 BB stack when the other players have a similar stack to yours or a 20-25 BBs stack. With that I wish him luck and he signs off.

So now there were somewhere in the area of 12 people left when it folded to Sn8wman in the small blind and he just completed. The BB had about 1.1m barely having him covered raised to 200k total, 140k wore which brian called. At this point gboro and I both thought Brian had AA and were shocked at what ensued on the flop. On a flop of 974 and roughly 430k in pot, Brian checked to the BB who bet 540k and Brian let his natural instincts take over and instantly moved in for about 700k total with Q9o and the BB called exposing he was on a complete move pre-flop with his 75o. The turn was a 5 and the chat spam went nutts for Q's and 9's on the river which never appeared. The river was a 4....oh yea, the board was now 97454 counterfeiting the BB's 2 pair and shipping Brian the nearly a 2 million chip pot!!

So now the blinds are 30k-60k and there are 10 left with 9 making the final table. It folded to the SB who made it 3x and Sn8wman called from the BB with Q10dd. The flop was KK8 with 1 diamond. in the previous blind vs blind confrontation earlier the villian raised 3x pre, and led 3x on A72flop w/ 2 diamonds which Sn8wman called holding QJ of spades. The SB check the turn and Brian bet 6x BB and folded when the SB moved in on him. So back to the hand at matter, the flop came KK8 with 1 diamond and both players checked. The turn was a rag diamond, 3 or 4 or something and the SB lead for 250k with about 1 million behind. Meanwhile another player had busted at the other table so the next hand would start the final table. Sn8man has 2 options when the SB leads 250k on turn. He can call and have 1.5 million when the action continues on the river, folding to any bet if he doesn't improve his hand and still in decent shape to start the final table. This play is a little weak/conservative at this point, but definitely not "wrong". Option two is simple. With almost 700k in the pot after the SB's bet and having the villain covered by 500kish, ship your stack in there and put him to the decision of calling off his last 1 million chips knowing that the final 9 is set if he folds. If the SB does call, and he needs a big hand to do that, you still have outs and also have him covered by a few chips...in NLH aggression OWNS. Unfortunately the villain called w/ AK, Sn8wman missed his flush draw and ended up pushing King hi in the SB vs the BB the 1st hand of the FT, who called with a better king high and Brian was eliminated in 9th taking home 25k.

While it wasn't the 335k he had hoped for 25k was still a nice score. Most of us know this, but I'm sure it will take him a few days to realize himself as I imagine he's feeling disappointment and second guessing a few of his plays late instead of feeling the pride of the accomplishment of finishing 9th out of 3,798 participants in one of the largest tournaments ever played online. In my opinion he should take pride in knowing that he played the Q10dd the way 90% of the top players would in the same exact situation, and this is just one of the many growing pains poker players go through in their journey towards greatness.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A sick Sunday of Poker ahead today

I imagine the fields will be huge today. Along with the conclusion of the FTOPS series on Fulltilt which is a 500+35 buy-in with a 1.5 million guaranteed prize pool, Pokerstars will be adding 100k to the prize pool of the 200+15 Sunday Warm-up which is in addition to the 350k guarantee, and will be adding 250k to the prize pool of the 200+15 Sunday Million. Pokerstars is adding this money as part of their 10 billionth hand celebration. This will almost guarantee a huge turn out for all the biggest tournaments across the sites. I unfortunately have the time to write this since I'm already out of the warm-up and the bodog 100+9 50k guarantee. I figured I'd take a few moments to enter my schedule today, which almost all will have a 5-figure prize for at least 1st if not multiple spots at the final table.

12:45- 200+15 Sunday Warm-up on Pokerstars, 350k guarantee and 100k added*
13:00- 100+9 NLHE on Pokerstars
13:00- 100+9 NLHE on Bodog, with a 50k guarantee
14:00- 100+9 w/ rebuys on Pokerstars*
15:00- 50+5 NLHE on Pokerstars, with a 25k guarantee
16:00- 100+9 NLHE on Bodog, with a 100k guarantee*
16:30- 200+15 Sunday Million on Pokerstars, 250k added*
17:00- 200+15 on Ultimate Bet with a 200k guarantee*
17:15- 200+15 NL Heads-Up Matches on pokerstars, 256 max entrants
18:00- 500+35 FTOPS Main event on fulltilt, 1.5 million guarantee*
18:00- 615+35 WSOP Main event qualifier on Pokerstars
18:30- 200+15 second chance on Pokerstars w/ 200k guarantee*
19:00- 100+9 double stack on Pokerstars
19:05- 200+16 Mulligan (FTP's version of second chance), 75k guarantee*
19:30- 100+9 w/ rebuys on Pokerstars*
20:00- 150+13 NL on FullTilt w/40k guarantee
20:00- 150+12 NL on Absolute w/ 60k guarantee
20:30- 500+30 NL on Ultimate Bet w/75k guarantee
20:30- 50+5 NL on bodog with 50k guarantee (alternate for me)
20:30- 100+9 w/ rebuys on Ultimate Bet w/ a 20k guarantee (alternate for me)
21:00- 200+15 w/ rebuys on Pokerstars w/ a 100k guarantee*
21:00- 20+2 w/ rebuys on pokerstars
21:00- 200+16 World Series Main Event Qualifier on Fulltilt, 2 seats guaranteed (alt for me)

* indicates a qualifying tournament for Cardplayer's Internet Player of the year standings

Basic qualifications for CP's IPOY is 100 entrants or more, Buy-in of 100 or more, and Prize Pool of 100k of more. The sites that qualify are Pokerstars, FullTilt, UltimateBet, AbsolutePoker, and Bodog. I personally think this is a little too narrow, and I feel the minimum buy-in should be 50 and prize pool 50k. I feel like CP has the narrow qualifications to make their data mining easier on their end. As it stands, Monday thru Friday during a normal week, the only tournament across these 5 sites that everyday is the pokerstars 21:00 nightly 100k guarantee (150k guar on Wednesdays). On very freak nights, the evening 100 rebuy on pokerstars will qualify, but this is very rare. The only other weekday tournament that qualifies is the Fulltilt Monday night 1k NLH which has a 50k guarantee but regularly approaches and exceeds a prize pool of 200k. They mine as well call this Cardplayer's Yearly Internet Player of Weekend. My feelings aren't directly related to my poor standings, which some may think.

Here is a link to the current rules-

Here is a link to the current standings-

Here is a link to my current standing-

Under the current qualifications, here are the typical tournaments that qualify each week.

Bodog- 1 total tournament
Bodog- Sunday 16:00 100+9 w/ 100k guarantee

UltimateBet- 1 total tournament
UltimateBet- Sunday 17:00 200+15 w/ 200k guarantee

Absolute- 1 total tournament
Absolute- Saturday 16:30 200+16 w/ 150k guarantee

Fulltilt- 3 total tournaments
Fulltilt- Monday 21:00 1k NL, Sunday 18:00 200+16 with 400k guarantee (1 sunday a month this is a 500+35 w/ 750k guarantee), Sunday 19:05 200+16 with 75k guarantee (this has been meeting the qualifications in the last few weeks so I will give it the benefit)

Pokerstars- 12 total tournaments
Pokerstars- Monday thru Saturday 21:00 150+12 w/ 100k guarantee (wednesdays is 300+20 and 150k guarantee), Sunday- 12:45 200+15 sunday warm-up w/ 350k guar, 14:00 100+9 w/ rebuys, 16:30 200+15 Sunday Million, 18:30 200+15 second chance w/ a 200k guar, 19:30 100+9 w/ rebuys, 21:00 200+15 w/ rebuys w/ 100k guar

So under the current qualifications, there are 18 tournaments a week over the 5 sites. 3 of the sites only have 1 tournament, and I understand pokerstars is the largest site open to the entire world but they dominate this holding 12 of the 18 tournaments, which with such a small sample 67% is a huge percentage.

Total weekday entries-6
Total weekend entries-12

The following tournaments would also qualify under the 50 buy-in/50k prizepool.

Bodog- Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday 20:30 50nl with 50k guarantee, Sunday 13:00 100nl w/ 50k guarantee.

Bodog total- 4 added, with the initial 1 that qualified for a total of 5.

Absolute- Sunday 20:00 150+12 w/ 60k guarantee

Absolute total- 1 added, with intial 1 that qualified for a total of 2.

UltimateBet- Sunday 20:30 500+30nl w/ 75k guarantee

UltimateBet total- 1 added, with intial 1 that qualified for a total of 2. There is a slight hope that the nightly 20:30 100+9 w/ rebuys w/ 20k guarantee will eventually qualify if UB ever figures out how to get players on their site, as this is a great structure for a rebuy tourney.

Fulltilt- Mon-Sun 20:00 150+13 w/ 40k guarantee. This usually hits 50k everynight, but we'll estimate a conservative 5 times out of 7 per week. Saturday 15:00 300+22 6-handed NLHE w 40k guarantee. Saturday 18:00 100+9 with 50k guarantee.

FullTilt total- 7 added, with initial 3 that qualified a conservative total of 10 (remember we allowed for 2 of 7 nightly 150+13's to not hit the 50k qualification.

Pokerstars- Mon-Sat 14:00 & 20:00 100+9 w/ rebuys. Mon-Sun 15:00 50+5 which starting Monday will be known as the "daily fifty grand", as pokerstars increased it's guarentee from 25k to 50k. Saturday 13:00 300+20 nl. Sunday 19:00 100+9 double stack, this has been regularly getting 500+ runners. Occasionally a 50 rebuy will qualify, but we wont count any of them since it is not a regular occurence.

Pokerstars total- 21 added to original 12 for a total of 33.

Overall break down- 100/100- 18 tournaments a week, 50/50- 52 tournaments a week, with pokerstars still holding a dominant 63% of the total entries.

Weekday entries- 27 entries
Weekend entries- 25 entries
(i double check math later, trying to rush and finish the post)

After running the numbers, maybe an average of just over 7 tournaments a day is a tad high, although I think an average of 2.5 is way to low and I think there needs to be a better between weekday and weekend tournaments. Perhaps they could come up with a system that "specific tournaments" qualified, like UB's largest daily the 20:00 120+9 bounty with 30k prize pool and maybe just the 20:00 100+9 w/ rebuys on stars instead of both daily 100+9 w/ rebuys to try and create a little more balance between sites. I'm no expert, but the current system blows in my honest opinion, especially considering how fortunate one needs to get in the majors.

So far, I've busted everything, and in pretty ugly fashion. Hopefully this will allow me to better focus on the million, which is 30 minutes in. With 10,894 runners and the 250k Pokerstars added out of their pocket, we have a $2,428,800 prizepool, which is certainly the largest prize pool ever for the 200+15 Sunday Million, and may have surpassed the largest field when a few sundays ago they put a 1.5 mill guarantee celebrating something or other. That being said, the payouts suck.

Entrants: 10,894

Spots paid: 2,619

Total Prizepool: $2,428,800

1,504th-2,619th(the bottom level)- 242.88

1st place: $229,764.48- nothin to sniff at, but only 9.46% of entire prize pool. I believe normally when they get their average 6k runners or so 1st takes home 15% of the prize pool, which would mean $364,4320. Of course when the number of players increases their pay out change, but their standard payouts for this many runners is 1,314 spots paid, with 1st collecting 12.8% which would be $310,886.40 for the winner. I'm all for paying extra spots, I understand the theorey from the sites, but I think paying 20% is plenty which would be about 2,179 spots and add $106,867.20 (4.4%) to the prize pool towards the higher spots.

Yesterday I forgot to send out a big congrats to TheFatFish A.K.A AndyMcleod for winning FTOPS event #9 the 100 rebuys and pocketing 75k. Also congrats to Imper1um on winning event #8 Friday night, the 200+16 Pot-Limit Holdem event, and pocketing 40k for his efforts.

A big good luck to Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby, J.C. "PartyPsux" Alvarado, Jon Friedberg, Corey "UGOTPZD" Caroll, Darrell "gigabet" Dicken, Eric Froehlich and Shaniac on day 2 today of the WPT Mirage 10k event.

In great shape 5 levels into the mil so far with 27,950 up from my original 10,000, but tis a marathon, WML. I'll leave ya with a sick hand I played in the million, the last hand before the 1st break.


PokerStars Game #10018468329: Tournament #50186235, $200+$15 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (150/300) - 2007/05/20 - 17:28:10 (ET)
Table '50186235 988' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: trdr55 (11275 in chips)
Seat 2: yokkamo (6225 in chips)
Seat 3: BeL0WaB0Ve (19450 in chips)
Seat 4: eres chingon (16400 in chips)
Seat 5: BADBEATGMJR (9300 in chips)
Seat 6: fruktmusli (17950 in chips)
Seat 7: desiree777 (12175 in chips)
Seat 8: crimpster (8550 in chips)
Seat 9: dunkmaster50 (8200 in chips)
fruktmusli: posts small blind 150
desiree777: posts big blind 300
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BeL0WaB0Ve [8h 9h]
crimpster: folds
dunkmaster50: folds
trdr55: folds
yokkamo: folds
BeL0WaB0Ve: raises 550 to 850
eres chingon: folds
BADBEATGMJR: raises 950 to 1800
fruktmusli: folds
desiree777: folds
BeL0WaB0Ve: calls 950
*** FLOP *** [Jc 6s 5h]
BeL0WaB0Ve: bets 900
BADBEATGMJR: raises 900 to 1800
BeL0WaB0Ve: calls 900
*** TURN *** [Jc 6s 5h] [2c]
BeL0WaB0Ve: bets 300
BADBEATGMJR: raises 900 to 1200
BeL0WaB0Ve: calls 900
*** RIVER *** [Jc 6s 5h 2c] [Th]
BeL0WaB0Ve: bets 2950
BeL0WaB0Ve collected 10050 from pot
BeL0WaB0Ve: shows [8h 9h] (high card Jack)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 10050 | Rake 0
Board [Jc 6s 5h 2c Th]
Seat 1: trdr55 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: yokkamo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: BeL0WaB0Ve collected (10050)
Seat 4: eres chingon folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: BADBEATGMJR (button) folded on the River
Seat 6: fruktmusli (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: desiree777 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: crimpster folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: dunkmaster50 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Not a bad return....

Why was I breaking from stars you ask? Well how does 2 cashes in 57 tournaments, with 0 final tables hit ya? Yup those were my stats on Stars during May so far, $10,697.75 in buy-ins and a whopping $820.70 in cashes. While I wouldn't exactly say I ran good today, I definitely didn't run as horrible as I was and I took a little step towards making those numbers not look so ugly. On the day, I had 5 cashes in 12 tournaments, including a 3rd place finish in the 50 rebuys for about 5.5k, which was close to what my profit was on stars today. I also cashed in both 12:00 p.m. tournaments, the 300 and 100 nlhe, along with the afternoon 10r and evening 100r. The evening 100r was definitely a BeL0W-a-Coaster, as I had about 70k at 600-1200, then was down to 12k at 800-1600, way up to 145k at 1k-2k, and busted in 14th place at the 1.5k-3k level, blah.

All day I was playing some sick poker. On full tilt I was the bubble boy in the 300 short handed, as my QQ was no match for the eventual winner's AJ aipf. I also managed to go deep in the 100r ftops event, where I finished 32nd out of 1,487 runners. Another BLAH!! Seeing as I have such great luck in these big rebuy events during the series, no one at my table rebought, perfect! :( I tried to loosen them up with some stupid all-ins, and when i finally got called my AK was no match for K4 suited =). With no one at the table willing to be an idiot with me, I just started getting really aggressive pre-flop, opening for 300-400 and taking it on the flop. I got to the 1st break w/ 16k or so. Was my usual up and down performance early, but I had about 30k at the 1200-2400 level, when the average was about 50k or so with 125 people left. I pretty much grinded the whole tourney, never having more then 70k, and never having more then 1/2 the average stack. Was down to 20k @ 3k-6k, when I could grind no longer and moved in with A6 and failed to improve vs 99. BLah BLah BLah whatever.

I'm feeling good going into another Sunday. Here's to making it a special Sunday and not the usual I hate Sundays, where's your gun?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Another light schedule, another night of deep runs, and yet another night of some disapointment

So tonight I played 6 tournaments total, and cashed in 3/6. My schedule consisted of the bodog 25k @ 7:30, UB bounty and 100r, and on FTP I played the 6pm 22k which was a 69+6 buy-in, the 7pm 40k which was the 150+13 buy-in and the FTOPS, which tonight was the 200+16 with a 150k guarantee. FTOPS got 1,072 runners, and went very similar to my other FTOPS events, although I did manage to survive past the 1st break before busting around 600. I folded most of the 1st hour, had about 3400 when i played my 1st significant pot and lost 1300 chips. The Bodog 25k was alot more grinding, and at the 300-600 75a level I got all-in with KK vs KJo for my 7k chips, Qxx910, gg out of the $. I got deep in the UB 100r, and went card dead towards the later part of the tournament, and every time I tried to open a pot I was re-raised. With 12 left, and blind 600-1200, i moved all-in from the cut-off with 9d8d for my last 9700. The BB called with A3, and at least I was live. KK8 flop, turn K, river K, and I bubble the final table with quads!!! This tournament only paid 8, so again, no money :(.

The UB bounty was simple pickings in the beginning, as I gathered 8.5k during the 1st hour. Tho I swang a bit, I was never really in any danger, and the only time I was all-in before there was 12 left was when I flopped top set vs a flush draw with about 25 people left. On the final table bubble, the button who had 45kish, made it 5500 or so at 1k-2k blinds. I had the perfect re-stealing stack, and moved all-in from the BB with 44 for about 30k. Whoops, he had KK, and I'm out 11th. Oh well.

Both the 22k and 40k on FTP started very similar. Alot of folding during the 1st hour with me putting very few chips in the pot, and having around 2.5k of the starting 3k at the 1st break. In both tournaments I picked up alot of cards during the 2nd hour and managed to get to around 15k at the 2nd break. The 22k was a steady ride to the final table where I eventually finished 4th. I didn't lose many significant pots, when 5 handed and the blinds 6k-12k, utg+1 shoved my BB for 130k w/ KJhh, I obv called with AA and lost a race on the river. I tried to grind, as my cards were very ugly. I eventually shoved 85k w/ K8o 4-handed and was called by A7o, live to the river but I missed :(, taking 4th for 2.5k.

The 40k I found myself with a monster stack right after the 2nd break after I played a very sick hand. I'm not sure how this will look when I paste it, but I'll try it anyways since I saved the hand. Towards the end of the 2nd hour, as I was amassing this large stack, I was opening up some more but I was also getting some hands. So it's reasonable to say I may have had my usual loose image. So pre-flop, I limp behind utg limper with small PP, and bet the flop when checked to me, just under 3x BB. UTG calls, turn brings straight draw, and utg again check/calls, this time my 1/2 pot bet. The river pairs the board, and I was shocked utg didn't lead. I really wasnt sure where he was at, but figured if he rivered trips he's calling, if he had the straight he was calling, and he may even call if he limped JJ-1010 or AA. So I said screw it and decided to go for the massive over shove of almost 3x the pot which he called pretty quickly, I was shocked at his holdings.......

Full Tilt Poker Game #2456793747: $40 000 Guarantee (18164261) Table 21 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:21:13 ET - 2007/05/18
Seat 1: min33 (4 025)
Seat 2: blindumpire (5 405)
Seat 3: Matadoren (4 565)
Seat 4: TheStein (10 665)
Seat 5: Andre Pierre (16 040)
Seat 6: SirWatts (8 405)
Seat 7: GetPWN3D (16 510)
Seat 8: phat_cat1 (7 495)
Seat 9: drome (3 740)
min33 antes 25
blindumpire antes 25
Matadoren antes 25
TheStein antes 25
Andre Pierre antes 25
SirWatts antes 25
GetPWN3D antes 25
phat_cat1 antes 25
drome antes 25
Matadoren posts the small blind of 120
TheStein posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #2

Dealt to GetPWN3D [ ]
Andre Pierre calls 240
SirWatts folds
GetPWN3D calls 240
phat_cat1 folds
drome folds
min33 folds
blindumpire folds
Matadoren calls 120
TheStein checks

[ ]
Matadoren checks
TheStein checks
Andre Pierre checks
GetPWN3D bets 645
Matadoren folds
TheStein folds
Andre Pierre calls 645

[ ] [ ]
Andre Pierre checks
GetPWN3D bets 1,200
Andre Pierre calls 1,200

[ ] [ ]
Andre Pierre checks
GetPWN3D has 15 seconds left to act
GetPWN3D bets 14 400 and is all in
Andre Pierre has 15 seconds left to act
Andre Pierre calls 13 930 and is all in
Uncalled bet of 470 returned to GetPWN3D

Showdown :
GetPWN3D shows [ ] (a full house, Fours full of Queens)
Andre Pierre mucks
GetPWN3D wins the pot (32,735) with a full house, Fours full of Queens
Andre Pierre stands up

Total pot 32,735 | Rake 0
[ ]
Seat 1: min33 folded before the Flop
Seat 2: blindumpire (button) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: Matadoren (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: TheStein (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 5: Andre Pierre mucked [ ] - two pair Queens and Nines
Seat 6: SirWatts folded before the Flop
Seat 7: GetPWN3D showed [ ] and won (32 735) with a full house Fours full of Queens
Seat 8: phat_cat1 folded before the Flop
Seat 9: drome folded before the Flop

This put me at 35k, which I pretty much rode to the final 2 tables, not getting many hands. With 1500-3k blinds, given the huge antes on FTP, I shoved my 58k in the sb when folded to me, and the BB woke up to KK...my 67o was no good and I was down to 22k. Folded to me on the button and I had a standard shove with A9o, and the same guy wakes up to QQ, nh gg gl etc etc.

This week I fell to #11 of the rankings on www.pocketfives.com. On 4-11-06, I moved from #11 to #6 in the rankings. In October of '06, I was ranked #4 in the old system, when pocketfives switched to the new system, which is more results based. I debuted in that system at #3, and eventually held the #1 spot for about 2 months maybe. Since the 1st of the year I have been traveling alot playing live, and along with some sick performances by others I have been steadily dropping. Still, the approximate 57 consecutive weeks I spent in the top 10, adjusting to a brand new system with a new criteria, not to mention having to fight off so many great players worthy of such high rankings is definitely one of my proudest achievements in this game to date. With all the insane PLB totals, and the 4 weeks I'll be in vegas this summer, it's going to be really difficult but I plan on reclaiming my spot in the top 10 very soon. Overall I'm really happy with my game, and looking forward to a big weekend. I'm going to do my best to run good when it counts ;-).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Up to my usual top performances...

So Full Tilt Online Poker Series IV, otherwise known as FTOPS, is now a week old and tonight was the 7th event event. I've played 6 events so far, taking Tuesday off which was the HOSE event. So far I'm o-6 in cashing, not even coming close to sniffing the money. Of the 6 events, the only one that even started well was the Pot-Limit Omaha with rebuys. I ended the rebuy hour with about 17k in chips, but hour #2 went similar to my entire FTOPS series so far, and I didn't even make the 2nd break. For the most part, every event I have played has started the same way, with me losing 1/2 my chips very early and me having to scrape back to my original stack, a strategy that doesn't work very well for the most part.

Tonight's event was more of the same. 200+16 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, which got 930 entrants, and I finished in 808th place, about 45 minutes into the thing. This event is probably my weakest of the events I will play in this series, so I really wasn't that disappointed. Overall though, I am very disappointed in my performances in the biggest tournaments on the net, specifically these special 10-day series and the Sunday majors. My single largest cash online was for about 70k when I took 3rd place in the party poker 750k Sunday tournament. I also won the Paradise Sunday twice, and the Paradise Masters series Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, all three scores were between 30k-35k, and I took 5th in 200+15 tournament on Ultimate Bet during their most recent championship series last December. The Ultimate Bet tournament I went into the final table as the chip leader, and in my defense, ran absolutely horrible and finished 5th for about 14k, which is nothing to exactly sniff at. I've won numerous 100 rebuys on pokerstars, but never gotten it done in the big one they have on Sundays, or in the 200 rebuy that also runs on Sundays.

In short, I feel like I'm a major disaster in the majors, and it is time I change that. I'm not sure how to go about doing it as far as maybe changing my strategy, but the next few months I plan on breaking through in these majors, which will have to start with me being 100% focused. I plan to keep my tables at a maximum of 8, where as in the past I have played up to 14 games on 2 monitors. There are 3 events left in this FTOPS series, all of which I feel fit my game well. Friday night is the Pot-Limit Hold'em, which means early we are forced to play more flops, which means players with greater post-flop skills will certainly have a distinct advantage. Saturday is the 100 rebuy, which of course are my favorite tournaments online. During FTOPS III, they had a 200 rebuy which Imper1um won. I had alot of chips and spewed them on the money bubble and barely squeaked into the cash myself. I hope I get a great table draw on Saturday, because I don't want to be the only one spending alot of money. Regardless, I plan on amassing a huge stack in the 1st hour, and will be highly disappointed if I don't go deep. Finally, Sunday is the main event, with the greatest structured online tournament there is. It wouldn't suprise me if 1st place surpassed 300k, and I plan to be right there in the thick of things fighting for my peice of the pie. I also cashed in the last main event, when in the SB my 88 ran into the BB's AA.

Hopefully I'll decorate this blog in the very near future, I am really new to all of this. In closing, although I am happy for them, I'm sick of just watching my friends deep in the biggest tournaments, time for me to join them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Even the best make mistakes.......

Finally, some poker talk. As far as my own game goes, I feel like I'm playing some good poker. Last Tuesday, I decided to take a break from Poker Stars. This is really hard for me since Stars is the best site for mtt's online, but I've been running horrific there and I've been allowing the beats to effect me in my tournaments on Fulltilt and UB. Two things happened because of this. First, I didn't find myself foolishly tilting out of my tournaments on FT and UB. Second, I found myself being able to concentrate more, since the most I was usually in was 5 or 6 games as opposed to my usual 8-10 games. I responded right away winning the 200+15 Tuesday night for 6.7k and and the 100 rebuy Wednesday night for 8k, both on UB. In addition I also find myself deep in many of the FTP tournies I was entering. Of course, no matter how much I hate stars right now, I cant pass up the action on Sunday. I thought the 4.5 day break did me well, as I had accumulated 65k in the sunday warm-up by the 750-1500 level, when I got all my chips in the middle with KK vs 66, and he nailed a 6 on the river. The rest of my sunday was the same ole, and again I let it effect me elsewhere.

Overall, I'm happy with how I am playing for the most part. Monday afternoon I took 3rd in the 28k on FTP for like 4k, and today I made 2 final tables after taking yesterday off. Unfortunately I took 9th in 22k guarantee on FTP when my AK was no match for QK, and took 6th in the UB 120+9 bounty. In the bounty, I lost a 190kish pot at 1500-3000 level with 44 vs A6hh. I raised to 8k pf from mp, and gboro780 called in the BB w/ A6hh. the flop was K42 w/ 2 hearts, and he check/called 10k. The turn was an offsuit Jack, and gboro led 16k, which I made 35k with about 35k behind. My goal of this bet worked, as I was trying to make it look like he had fold equity if he decided to push. He pushed, I called, and 10h on river, gg me in 6th for 1.6k. Congrats to gboro, at least he finished the job and took down over 7500 for his victory.

So, whats with the heading you ask? Seems like I didn't make a mistake in any of these tournaments I discussed. Well...I don't think I'm the best either. Right now, I don't think there is a player who is a bigger threat to win every tournament he enters then Imper1um, aka zangbezan24. This guy is a beast, and has learned to mix-in his bluffs so well with his nutted hands, and his extremely nuttso aggression causes most opponents to spew their chips to him.

So I'm watching him in the FTOPS 6-handed event tonight, and he was top 10 in chips when he busted out. In most cases, some hands play different then one would think because of how a table is playing. I understand this, but I also know that Imper1um had just been moved to this table, so for the most part his read was as good as any spectator. With 250-500 blinds, utg+1 who has 17k chips makes it 1,500, the button, who has 60k or so, flat calls on the button. Imper1um, who started the hand with 50k+ makes it 5500 from the BB. UTG+1 moves all-in for 17k, and once again the button SMOOTH CALLS. As Imper1um explained to me later, he's been playing with alot of euro-donks who are capable of flat-calling the 17k all-in despite the open action w/ any pair, AQ, etc just hoping to see a flop. Imper1um shoved, and the big stack had AA sending his TT to the rail along with the other guy's QQ.

I could probably put together an argument for a player with his skill to fold KK here. Not necessarily because his KK was losing, but because putting all the chips in pre-flop, he is now allowing his opponents to negate his significant edge talent wise. We play a very similar style, where we amass huge stacks throughout a tournament, winning a ton of pots with sheer aggression and not having to take our hands to showdown. It's the tournaments where you get to play deep stack poker from beginning to end where we are able to maxamize this advantage. A short handed full tilt tournament surely will be deep stacked the entire way, and he decided to try and isolate throwing 100+ BBs in the middle, along with his tournament life with 1010.

Afterwards, he told me on aim that he sucked. No Imper1um, you don't suck, you just made a mistake. Even the best make mistakes, how they learn from it is what makes them better then others.

Not the response I was expecting/soliciting....

So most of you reading this know that I made a post on www.pocketfives.com to let people know that I would be starting this blog. A lot of people saw the post, then checked out my 1st entry, and this huge discussion ensued. Basically, my 1st entry was kind of misinterpreted and a lot of people were A. offering me advice on life and B. a lot of people started discussing the importance of poker players balancing their lives on and off the tables. I thought the balancing discussion was pretty interesting, though I chose not to respond in the thread since that was not the point of my original post.

As for my original entry, the depression that I am dealing with is basically in regards to my friends starting new chapters in their lives, and feeling a little left behind. I mentioned the lack of girlfriend in my life and everyone assumed I wanted to get married tomorrow, LOL. That wasn't exactly what I meant. The fact that my friends are all getting serious in life effects me in multiple ways. In the past, on any given Friday or Saturday night I could call any 1 of my 3 best friends up and we would be at a bar or club moments later. Now Jason has to watch Junior, George is working, and Mike is either working or out with his girlfriend.

Before I started poker for a living in 2005 I spent almost 3 years in retail management, working 50+ hours most weeks, never a really consistent schedule. Some days I'd work 6am-4pm, some days noon- 10pm, and some days I'd get a mid-shift working 9am-6pm or 10am-7pm. Before that I waited tables for 2 years, and also ran a produce company with 2 friends. I've pretty much worked at least 40 hours/week since I was a freshman in high school. Now I get to make a living playing a game that I love. I decide when I work and how many hours. If I don't feel like working, then I take the day off it's that simple. Lord willing, I will never have to go back to working for the man, and I will be able to play poker for a living for as long as I choose to.

The only thing that I miss from my days of "working for the man" is the social aspect. Not only did I leave my house every house everyday, but almost every night when I was done working I would find myself doing more social things, either shooting pool with some friends or going to the karaoke bar with a separate group of friends who I no longer speak with much. Nowadays, when I'm done playing I go to sleep, rarely do I go meet friends at the bar for a beer. I miss that. Thats all I miss from my life pre-poker. My goal now is to just find a balance. Right now I take every Thursday off, and try to cut my play short either Friday or Saturday night so I can go out. This might be enough, it may not.... we'll see.

Just to set the record straight, I don't do drugs. I used to smoke weed in high school, and a little bit my freshman year of college, but it's probably been 7 or 8 years since I smoked weed more then 2 times in any given month. The past depression I dealt with was probably 4 years ago and I basically ended up allowing time to heal myself. I saw 2 different therapists and between the 2 they had me on 3-5 different drugs. I had anger issues that I was trying to deal with, but I never really liked any of the prescribed drugs. Some would make me act really weird, some would make me sleep all of the time, and some would never allow me to get to sleep at all. I'm pretty much done with that route, and this time I'm just gonna try and help myself with the support of friends and family.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ok, i gave in...here we go

So for a long time I put off creating a blog because i felt it was the "trendy" thing everyone was doing. Just like myspace, I have finally gave in. Hopefully I will be able to update frequently, but I know I will slack because that's what I do best (outside of poker), and I apologize in advance. I'll probably end up using this space to post some interesting hands I may play in a tournament online, talk about personal shit I do in my life, and perhaps give tournament recaps of live events I play.

Right now I don't have too much going on as far as traveling this month, although I will be in Vegas for some WSOP pre-lims from June 5th until June 18th. I plan to come home and relax for two weeks before returning July 2nd and staying through the Main Event which starts on the 6th or something. The Last weekend of June my best friend George is getting married finally, I'm pretty excited but nervous for him. He's never been one for a conventional lifestyle, as he is just into his 30's and last fall finally got his 1st "real" job since his junior year of high school. He's pretty much survived by gambling on anything and everything, and done quite well. He and Jamie have been dating on and off since they were in high school, so it's about fucking time bro!!!

I feel old, turning 27 later this month, but the odd thing is George is the 1st of my friends to get married, so I'm excited to experience this. I mean one of my other good friends Jason is practically married, since his girlfriend lives with them and they have a toddler together, but they aren't officially married. Along with my roomate Mike, the 4 of us have all been really close since I was in high school, and with Mike finally dating someone seriously again I've been going through some weird inner feelings. Kind of like I'm being left behind, as they are getting serious with their lives, here I am with no serious girlfriend which means I obviously have no clue as to what the future has in store for me as far as my own family. This has kind of lead to me going through some depression of my own the last few months. Depression runs in my family, and I have seen therapists in my past, including trying multiple drugs to help tame my mood swings. I never found a drug that I really like, feel like I tried them all, so eventually I just stop seeing the therapists. After the WSOP I will probably take a little time from poker to try and make myself happy on and off the tables. All right, it's almost 6 A.M., time to try and sleep now.