Headed to Atlantic City in two weeks to play some poker. I'll be following my normal pattern of driving up early in the morning and playing in a tournament starting at 11am. In this case, the tournament I'll be playing in is Event 15. This is a $200+30 Deep Stack No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry) with a $100,000 Guarantee. I'm not a huge fan of re-entry, but it's unlikely I'll take advantage of that option anyway. I do believe this is the first live guarantee tournament I've played in. That should guarantee a slightly bigger field than normal, which I think is good for me since I'm better at larger fields. I have to do a little preparation for this since I've been focusing on All In or Fold tournaments.
I'm also probably going to play in a tournament on Thursday. The most likely candidate for this is Event 41 which is a $ 150 + $ 30 + $ 50 Double Green Chip Bounty All In or Fold No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry). I really want to try this type of tournament in a live setting. Originally I was going to go up on Sunday and play in the main event version of this tournament, but I don't think this format will lose much with a side event structure. This will be my first side event.
Other, less likely, candidates for my second tournament are Event 18 and Event 19. Event 18 is a $ 260 + $ 40 Deep Stack Semi-Turbo No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry). I don't feel like my style of play is well suited to a Semi-Turbo, and historically they haven't been my best performances online, so I deem this very unlikely. Event 19 is a $ 350 + $ 50 Omaha H/L 8B. There are so many reasons I'd love to play this. First it's not Hold'em, and I've been dying to try a non Hold'em event. Second it's limit, which is something else I've been looking for an opportunity to play. I don't feel like I have enough experience with Omaha to make this a good investment though. I will say that if I have a significant cash in Event 15, I'd probably take a flyer on this tournament.
Played this hand over the weekend at Harrahs Atlantic City in a 1-2 NL game. I had 99 in middle position and raised to 6. A girl in town celebrating her 30th birthday raised to 10 from the small blind. Flop was T 4 2 rainbow. Birthday girl bets 15 and I call. Turn is a 6. Birthday girl bets again for 20 and I call. River is a 7 and birthday girl throws in a 30 dollars. I call again and she mucks before I show my hand. I know it seems like I put a lot of money in with 99 unimproved, but based on the way she'd been playing it was almost certainly a bluff. On the flop, she started to check and then when she realized it was heads-up, she bet instead. Sure, it could have been an act, but it seemed like she was giving up on the hand and decided to try and take it with bets. In hindsight, raising on the flop was the correct play, but I definitely got more money with this play.
Went up to the Philadelphia area to go to Sesame Place, and since we were there the night before I decided to check out the poker scene at Parx Casino. It's a very nice casino, and I would absolutely go back if I'm in the area. I have a hard time seeing it as a destination for me from Virginia, mostly because I have to pass other casinos to get there. I'd go up for a tournament and in fact I had originally planned to go up for the Parx Poker Open this month. My work schedule didn't work out to do that, so I'll have to wait for the WPT event next year.
I got there about 10PM and there was a massive wait for 1-2 NL. I put my name on the list and was told that it would be about an hour wait. I do think that this is probably unusual for a Sunday night, with the evacuation of Atlantic City and closure of those casinos being a factor. I waited for about 45 minutes, and then I put my name on the 1-3 PLO list that had been shrinking and was now only two other people. Mostly I just wanted to see my name on the list somewhere, the list only showed the first 20 names for each game and I still hadn't broken the top 20 for 1-2 NL. A few minutes later I got called for that game and since I was still 18th on the NL list I decided to take the seat.
I've played some PLO online, but not a whole lot, so I was a little apprehensive about playing it in a casino. It turned out ok though with a few minor issues. I had a lot of trouble dealing with the cards. I've never had to look at 4 cards and it turned out to be a lot harder than I anticipated. I know I slowed the game down, but the table was really friendly and nobody complained. I also had trouble remembering my cards. Again, I've not played a whole lot of PLO before, so seeing what my draws were and more importantly seeing what other likely draws my opponenets had turned out to be quite difficult. It did force me to pay more attention than I sometimes do, which can't be a bad thing.
For some reason the 1-3 PLO game was in the higher limit area of the poker room. I'm guessing this is a dealer thing since the game is more complicated to deal, but it was weird playing 1-3 stakes and sitting next to a table playing 200-400. I think it made cocktail service better though, not that I needed that since I couldn't stay long. I was impressed with how responsive the floor was to players at that 200-400 table. At one point one of the players called the floor over and after he rushed right over , the player said "There's this Hooter's competition on that TV way over there. We need that on this TV!" I wasn't facing that screen, but it did seem to distract some of the guys at my table who were facing it. One woman at my table, who was facing the screen, said "This is awesome, we need to have this on all the time. My hourly rate would triple."
The game itself went pretty well for me. Mostly because I did a decent job of not getting myself into any tough spots, but I also got some good cards at the right time. There were a few hands I want to talk about. Some were good and some were bad.
First hand I get dealt I have AsAcxsxc and 5 people see a flop for 25 each. Flop brings three hearts. First to act bets pot and another player raises pot. I fold. No way I have the best hand here, so no sense getting crazy and calling off my entire stack.
Next significant hand. I have 55xx. 5 people see a flop for 5 each. Flop is 55x with two hearts. I check first to act. Player to my left bets 20. Everyone folds to me and I call. I actually think about raising, and it takes me a little while to call, but mostly because I'm trying to control my shaking hands. I check the turn and my opponent bets 25. I raise to 50 hoping to get some value out of the hand and my opponent calls. River is another heart and I bet 50. My opponent bets pot which puts me all in. I call and double up.
Next significant hand. I have Ad4dJcTc and play a limped 6 way pot. The flop is QdKd3c I call a 25 dollar bet as do three other people. Turn is a meaningless 6s and everyone checks. River is Jh and everyone checks. I win a decent size pot. Now, you're probably wondering why the hell I didn't bet my hand on the river. One guy at the table even asked me that question directly. Short answer is I'm an idiot. I had so many draws that I completely missed when the draw that gave me a straight hit. I was thinking I had a flush draw which missed, and an open-ender that also missed, but I forgot that I had A-T which made the J a straight card for me. I absolutley threw away some value here. I think I could have gotten $50 out of the guy who had KQ. This error is totally my not being as familiar with Omaha as I could be.
Next significant hand. Another mistake on my part. Battle of the blinds. I had a bunch of low cards double suited. On the flop I had a 6 high flush draw and a pair of 2s. I checked and my opponent checked. The turn completed my flush draw and I called a 25 dollar bet. I also check called a 25 dollar bet on the river. Not sure what I was thinking here. His betting pattern practically screamed that he had a better flush than me. I sort of feel like I just threw 50 dollars away on this hand.
Next significant hand> Yet another misstep on my part. I had 55xx and called a 15 dollar bet. Five of us took a flop of A5T. Player to my right went all in for 63 dollars. I just knew I was up against either AA or TT, but I couldn't fold it. Three other players folded and I lost to AA. To make matters worse, he was holding the case 5, so I was drawing completely dead. I probably should have folded pre-flop and I should absolutley have listened to my instincts that said I was up against AA or TT on the flop.
Final significant hand. I have 66xx on the button. I call a raise to 15 with 2 other people. Flop is 69T rainbow. Opponent bets 25 and other opponent calls. I call the 25 and the turn is an A. He bets 25 and I call. The river is another 9. I bet 50 and he folds. I was thinking that I was up against 78 and I was calling to have the board pair. Not sure that was a good call on my part. I now wonder if he had that at all. There was no flush, so a straight would have been good if I didn't have a full house.
So all in all I made out ok. I probably should have won more than I did, but it still was a nice little profit for about an hour of play. I am clearly an awesome PLO player. I have the data point to prove it.
Haven't played a whole lot of poker the last couple of weeks. Last week I had Wizards games Monday, Wenesday and Saturday. Drove down to Charlottesville to see Jane Dear Girls, Eric Church and Jason Aldean. Played a little Friday night, but I was running really bad so I stopped.
The only Real poker I played last week was a PokerStars Homegame with my brothers, my wife and my brother's girlfriend. It was fun and the results were a little surprising. I won, but I had expected two of my brothers to finish higher since they had fairly recent playing experience. Another brother got hit over the head with the deck though (Quads twice in one single table tournament? Ridiculous!) so that helped him. It was fun though and next time we're going to try and get one or more parents into the thing. Maybe some friends too. It would be nice to have more than one table too. So if you're reading this and want an invite, let me know. We'd love to have you.
Sunday I played one or two SNGs and again I was just running bad, so I switched to Freerolls on Full Tilt. I played pretty well in both of those, finishing in the money in a satellite to a Freeroll with actual money to be won. Not sure when I can play in that though. Why do all of these Freerolls play on Sunday? Sunday is a day of rest. Are all these poker sites run by godless heathens? Ok, probably yes, but that's still no excuse. Anyway, the other tournament was a Razz tournament. I finished in 59th out of 5695 people, but the thing only paid out 45. Really sucks to go that deep and not get paid. I seem to do pretty well at non-hold'em tournaments. Maybe I should play a live one sometime. Problem there is that I'm no good at all at Omaha and that's the easiest non-hold'em tournament to find.
Monday I slept for 11 or so hours, so no Poker then. Have a Wizards game tonight. Probably Church on Wednesday. Not looking good to pick up my poker playing this week.
Poker Grump wrote a post today about players speaking up about rules while at the table. It's a good read as his posts always are. It reminded me about an incident that happened last month At Caesar's Atlantic City. We were playing at a 1-2 NL table and I was the big blind. The UTG+1 player raised it to 7 and a MP player raised to 10 dollars. Everyone folded to me and I asked if the amount was correct. I maintained that it should be to 12 and after thinking about it the dealer agreed. So far it doesn't sound like I was out of line, but the thing is I had already looked at my cards and had 36o. There's no way I was continuing the hand, so although I'm technically in the hand, from a practical perspective I probably should have just kept my mouth shut. I felt bad about it and apologized to the raiser. It turned out the raiser had AA, so she wasn't terribly upset. I'd actually describe her as eager to throw more money in the pot. Regardless, I still feel like since I the amount didn't truly matter to me I should have kept my mouth shut.
So given that, you can probably guess that I absolutely believe that the busybody in Poker Grump's post should have kept his mouth shut. It never occurred to me that this could be considered angle shooting or cheating, but I guess it could. I don't see it that way though. The way it turned out is probably the best outcome, but it wouldn't have been cheating either way.
At Charles Town yesterday, one hand basically made me a winner for the session. Obviously that happens sometimes, but even I was surprised by this hand.
We were playing 10 handed on a 1-2 table. I was in the big blind, and the UTG+1 player raised to $4. Four players called and I decided to see a flop for an extra $2. The flop hits my hand hard with two 5s and a 6. The small blind checked, I checked and two other players checked. The cutoff bet $20 the small blind called and one other player also called. The turn is a J which puts a flush draw on the board. Everyone checks and the river brings a 9 which completes the flush draw. The small blind bets 35 and I go all-in for about a hundred more. Another player goes all-in for his last 60 and the original raiser also calls. Atr this point I'm sure someone has made a higher full house, but I turn my cards over and the first caller turns over 78 offsuit for a straight. This player was having a really bad half hour as he'd lost about $300 a few hands earlier whn he flopped the nut straight and got outdrawn by J3c when the turn and river brought two clubs. The small blind mucked, so I have no idea what he had. He'd been playing a lot of two pair hands very aggressively, so he could have had as little as a pair of nines or maybe an overpair or something. He also may have been convinced I was betting with nothing since I'd tried to steal a few pots on the river, but nothing with that big of a bet.
I'm reasonably happy with how I played the hand. I definitely got lucky that the guy made the straight. I really didn't expect to win a pot of over $400 with 56 offsuit. I think this may be my new favorite hand.
Just booked a room at Borgata for a night to play in Event 8. I haven't played any events since Apruil, and I'm really itching to get back in action. I'm a little apprehensive about having a Wizards game on the 22nd and having to drive up early the next morning, but I tend to play better tired, so hopefully that will work to my advantage.
Event 8 is a Deepstack, not sure what this means in terms of chips here, but I'll have to find out what the level lengths are and so forth. I do hope that it's not a ridiculous field. Oh and please no snow.
Here's the full Winter Open schedule.
I occasionally play the Steps Tournaments on Pokerstars, and I've played the Step 1 (7.50) and Step 2 (27) in the last two days. Finished Second in both, so I'm on to the Step 3 (82) tournament when I get a chance to play it. Step 1 was really uneventful, but Step 2 was a total rollercoaster. There were three key hands two good beat stories and one semi bad beat.
First hand: I'm in middle position with KsQs and it's folded around to me. I raise to 3x the big blind. The player to my left calls and the button raise to 10x the big blind. I call and the player to my left calls. We see a flop of 78Q with two clubs and no spade. I bet about half the pot so as not to pot commit myself as I'll still have about 30 big blinds left. The player on my left folds and the big blind bets enough to put me all in. I think about it for a while and decide to call. He turns over AA and I'm in in a huge hole (18% to win). The Turn brings the Qc and suddenly I'm 95% to win. The river isn't an A and I double up into the chip lead.
I really like my opponents play here, and I'm really not pleased with my own play. First, my raise in middle position with KQs is ok. I'd probably make that play again. With two players who have position on me, I'm not pleased with my call. I should probably just chuck my hand and wait for the next hand. After that, my play gets worse. I bet less than half the pot on the flop, which feels weak, and probably contributed to my trouble figuring out his reraise to put me all in. My gut instinct was that he had AA or KK, and I managed to convince myself that he was making a move. The call was terrible. I'm a huge dog to AA, KK, QQ, AQc. I'm not in great shape against AKc and he's freerolling with KQc. He raised two players preflop and then reraises huge on the flop. I have to put him on AA or KK at worst. And yet I called. I suck.
Second hand: I pick up AA and I'm next to act after the under the gun player folds. We're playing 8 handed after my opponent from the previous hand was eliminated a few hands after I crippled him. I make it 3x the big blind and the player on my left and the big blind call. The flop is 528 rainbow. The big blind makes a little more than a pot sized bet and I call. The player to my left gets out of the way and we're heads up. The turn is a 10. He checks, I bet a little over a third of the pot and he check-raises me all in. I call and my AA is a huge favorite over his 67. The river completes his straight and I lose a huge pot.
I'm not as unhappy with myself on this one. There were no straights or flushes possible when I called his all in, so I'm probably not drawing dead at least, and it turned out I was in really good shape. Should I have been more concerned about a set? Maybe. I think what drove my play was that I had a decent chip lead and could afford to gamble a little. I might have played this hand differently if I were making a decision for my tournament life, but I think I would have gone all in on the flop in that case.
Hand 3: This is another hand with the opponent from the previous hand. I'm in the big blind and he's on the button. We're playing 5 handed and we're all sort of in the money, but the 5th place finisher will drop back down to step 1 and the 4th place finisher will stay on step 2. I'm currently in 4th place and he's in 5th, but we're only 44 chips apart. He goes all in on the button and I decide to call with A8o. I'm happy to see that I'm a favorite over his KQo. The flop is AA8 and he's drawing dead.
I'm not sure I can fault either of us on this hand. I'm sort of short-stacked so calling with A8 isn't the worst call I've ever made. Shoving with KQ on the button is absolutely correct for him. If I had more chips, I probably fold this hand.
I didn't play any significant hands for the rest of the tournament, and the big stack eliminated two more people to give me a second place finish. I have to say I was a little surprised how aggressively the big stack played. In a normal sit and go, I sort of see why he'd continue to be aggressive, but in a payout structure like this, he's nearly assured of a top two finish and the top two paid the same. It worked out for me though, so I can't complain.
I maynot have the brackets right, particularly past the first round, but I'm going to assume they play in order top to bottom. I'll correct this post later if that turns out to be wrong.
Patrik Antonius - Chris Moneymaker: Patrik Antonius should win this easily
Leo Wolpert - Eric Baldwin: Never heard of Wolpert, but Baldwin is an amazing player, so I'll take him
2nd Round: Patrik Antonius - Eric Baldwin: I'll go with Baldwin here. No particular reason.
David Williams - Joe Cada: Cada's young, but he's really impressed me. David Williams never really seemed that great of a player. Joe Cada
Erik Seidel - Huck Seed: Wow. Tough match for the first round. I think Seidel is one of the best around, but Huck has done so well in this tournament that it's hard to count him out in round one. Huck Seed
2nd Round: Joe Cada - Huck Seed: I think Huck's experience takes this one.
3rd Round: Eric Baldwin - Huck Seed: Here's where I think Huck goes out. Eric Baldwin
Dan Ramirez - Erick Lindgren: Another player I don't know, so Erick Lindgren gets the nod.
Peter Eastgate - Bertrand Grosspelier: Another tough choice. Gotta give ElkY the edge.
2nd Round: Erick Lindgren- ElkY: ElkY again.
Stephen Quinn - Ted Forrest: Don't know Quinn. Forrest is one of the players I'd least like to play with.
Dario Minieri - Jamie Gold: Dario Minieri eally impresses me. Plus he seems like a nice guy. Dario
2nd Round: Ted Forrest - Dario Minieri: I like Dario here again.
3rd Round: ElkY - Minieri: This should be a great match. I'll take Dario on hand 4.
Quarterfinal: Eric Baldwin - Dario Minieri: Another great match. Eric Baldwin is my pick into the semi-finals.
Gavin Smith - Phil Ivey: Hate to see either knocked out in round 1. Phil Will probably win this
Richard Edwards - Scotty Nguyen: Don't know Edwards, so Scotty Nguyen
2nd Round: Phil Ivey - Scotty Nguyen: Phil should breeze through this round.
Shawn Rice - Joe Hachem: Don't know Rice, so Hachem by default
Gabe Kaplan - Johnny Chan: Johnny Chan is a good matchup for Gabe. I think Kaplan wins this
2nd Round: Gabe Kaplan - Joe Hachem: I think Hachem wins this one easily.
3rd Round: Phil Ivey - Joe Hachem: Gotta go with Phil here.
Daniel Negreanu - Jason Mercier: Jason is a bad matchup for Daniel. I do think that playing a lot in the last few months with Jason will tilt the edge in Daniel's favor. Negreanu
Pieter de Korver - Mike Sexton: I feel like I should know de Korver, but I don't, so Mike Sexton.
2nd Round: Daniel Negreanu - Mike Sexton: Another terrible matchup for Negreanu. I think Sexton takes this one
Phil Gordon - Tom Dwan: Dwan is pretty much my favorite player right now, so I'll go with him. If Gordon catches a few good hands at the right times, he could easily take this though.
Phil Laak - John Juanda: Another of my favorite players right now in Laak. I think he wins this based on how well he's playing lately.
2nd Round: Tom Dwan - Phil Laak: I actually think Laak will win this. I suspect I'm the only one though. Maybe even including Laak himself.
3rd Round: Mike Sexton - Phil Laak: Phil Laak sneaks into the quarterfinals
Quarterfinals: Phil Ivey - Phil Laak: I've picked him this far, why not go crazy and put Laak in the semis.
Semifnal: Eric Baldwin - Phil Laak: I think Baldwin takes Laak out at this point
Jesper Hougaard - Allen Cunningham: Only know Cunningham, so Cunningham it is.
Eli Elezra - Greg Mueller: I should know Muelller, but I'm not familiar with his game. Not terribly impressed by Elezra, but he wins by default.
2nd Round: Allen Cunningham - Eli Elezra: Given my opinion of Elezra, I have to go with Cunningham. Actually, that sounds bad. I actually think Cunningham is a great player.
Annette Dworski - Chris Ferguson: Chris Ferguson
Kara Scott - Dennis Phillips: Kara Scott didn't impress me on Poker After Dark, but I think she wins this
2nd Round: Chris Ferguson - Kara Scott: Gotta go with Ferguson here.
3rd Round: Allen Cunningham - Chris Ferguson: To make up for my earlier slight. I pick Allen Cunningham.
Brock Parker - Doyle Brunson: I love watching Doyle play, but he seems to have lost a little in the last year or so. Brock Parker
JP Kelly - Don Cheadle: Don Cheadle really doesn't impress me. JP Kelly
2nd Round: Brock Parker - JP Kelly: Brock again.
Howard Lederer - Phil Hellmuth: Phil is a lot better player. I'll have to go with Phil.
Annette Obrestad vs. Orel Hershiser: Not even close. Annette crushes here.
2nd Round Phil Hellmuth - Annette Obrestad: Phil Hellmuth should squeak by here.
3rd Round: Brock Parker - Phil Hellmuth: I think Phil can take this one as well
Quarterfinal: Allen Cunningham - Phil Hellmuth: Cunningham cruises here.
Barry Greenstein - Vanessa Rousso: The more I see Vanessa, the more impressed I am with her. Also the only player in the field I've played with in any setting.
Sam Farha - Antonio Esfandiari: Liking Antonio a lot lately. Don't know how good he is heads up though. Still going for Antonio
2nd Round: Vanessa Rousso - Antonio Esfandiari: Gonna go with Rousso here, but it's sort of a tossup.
Jennifer Harman - Jennifer Tilly: I know I should pick Harman, but I'm going with Tilly here.
Jerry Yang - Mike Matusow: I was sort of not following poker when Yang won. Matusow impresse me. I'm going with Matusow.
2nd Round: Jennifer Tilly - Mike Matusow: Gonna go with Tilly again. I think she might make for an odd matchup for Matusow.
3rd Round: Vannessa Rousso - Jennifer Tilly: Vannessa should demolish Tilly.
Darvin Moon - Bill Huntress: Darvin Moon.
Andy Bloch - Annie Duke: Duke hasn't impressed me much lately. Gotta go for Bloch.
2nd Round: Darvin Moon - Andy Bloch: Bloch is amazing. Moon isn't so much. Bloch wins it.
Andrew Wilson - Paul Wasicka: Paul Wasicka.
Gus Hansen - Greg Raymer: I'm liking Gus Hansen's play more and more lately. Gus Hansen.
2nd Round: Paul Wasicka - Gus Hansen: Hard to call. Hansen.
3rd Round: Andy Bloch - Gus Hansen: Another tossup. Gus Hansen
Quarterfinal: Vanessa Rousso - Gus Hansen: I think Rousso wins this one.
Semifinal: Allen Cunningham - Vanessa Rousso: I think Cunningham takes this.
Final: Eric Baldwin - Allen Cunningham: Gonna go with Baldwin. Though I think Cunningham is probably the safer pick.